12,000 stranded as British travel firm goes bust

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British tour operator Holidays 4 UK Limited has collapsed, leaving 12,000 travellers stranded abroad, after running into financial difficulties due to dwindling demand, administrators said Wednesday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement that the company had applied to go into administration -- the process whereby a troubled firm calls upon independent financial help to restructure the business and remain operational.

Brighton-based Holidays 4 UK Limited specialises in package holidays and flights to Turkey.

The travel firm employs 18 people and trades under the names Holidays 4 U and Aegean Flights. Its annual turnover is about £35 million ($57 million, 40 million euros).

"The company has suffered because of the difficulties faced by the travel industry during 2010 and 2011, as a result of the economic downturn," added Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator and director at PwC, in the statement.

"The director has determined that the business is no longer able to trade and placed the company into administration.

"The company will cease operating with immediate effect. Regrettably most staff have been made redundant."

In a separate statement, the government's Foreign Office said that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would make arrangements to bring home all 12,000 Holidays 4 UK customers that are currently stuck abroad.

"The CAA will ensure that all Holidays 4 U customers are able to fly home as planned; they should therefore arrive at the airport in time to check in for their flights home as normal," the ministry said.

© 2011 AFP

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