Claims totalling €3.8m have been made to the Commission for Aviation Regulation by almost 4,200 Irish customers of travel agent Lowcostholidays which collapsed in July last year.
Irish tourists who had their holidays disrupted by the sudden closure of the firm have sought refunds from the commission.
The scale of the refunds sought is likely to place pressure on the Travellers’ Protection Fund, which is funded by contributions from tour operators and administered by the commission, to meet any shortfalls where bonds do not cover the extent of customers’ losses in the event of a firm’s collapse.
Contributions to the Travellers’ Protection Fund were suspended with effect from April 1987 due to adequate cash reserves being held in the fund.
Accounts filed by the commission show it had just over €5m in the fund in December 2015. The commission has revealed the value of the bond held by the Irish division of Lowcostholidays was just €79,243.
The Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents Act) Act 1982 requires all tour operators and travel agents to have a bond for the protection of its customers in overseas travel in place before they can be granted a licence.
Refunds are being provided for travel tickets and accommodation booked through Lowcostholidays as long as the original departure point was in Ireland, while expenses can also be claimed by customers who were already abroad when the company collapsed.
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