Travel agencies reiterate the need for a reimbursement fund for airline debt

The ACorporate Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (Acave) transmitted this Thursday the anguish that the sector is experiencing after learning of the rejection of the Congress of Deputies this week to the proposal not of law for the distribution of direct aid to compensate for the effects of the pandemic. Martí Sarrate, president of Acave, said that “this is very bad news, our sector is the most affected in the value chain of the tourism industry, our activity having been totally paralyzed due to the mobility restrictions imposed by the Government and the Most of the autonomous communities in the framework of the new state of alarm that extends until May 9, 2021 “. The head of the tourist association admits that there were hopes that the draft law would not go ahead but that there has been “a lack of collaboration and support from the political parties that have not voted in favor.”

Acave denounced more than 39 airlines in 2020 for breach of Regulation 261/2004 in 2020 and non-payment of debts to travel agencies. Among the airlines that owe the largest amounts to travel agencies, Air Europa stands out, a company that received aid from SEPI without the Spanish Government having done anything to ensure that this aid is used for ticket reimbursement. To all this must be added the funds not reimbursed by other providers, such as cruise companies, hotels or international receptors. Acave requests that a reimbursement fund be created as a direct aid to travel agencies and that it be the state that is subrogated in the position of the travel agency and becomes creditor with the supplier.

150 million owed

Acave insists that it is necessary to offer direct aid to the sector and create that “reimbursement fund” for travel vouchers that allows travel agencies to be provided with the liquidity necessary to be able to face the reimbursement of vouchers that have not previously been paid. reimbursed by the corresponding providers. From the study carried out by Acave, it is estimated that, almost a year after the start of the pandemic and the declaration of the state of alarm, 150 million euros are still pending reimbursement, which correspond mainly to airlines and other providers such as They are international cruise, hotel or receptive companies that have refused to reimburse services not provided due to covid-19. Likewise, many travel agencies have bonds issued under article 36.4 of Royal Decree Law 11/2020 and in accordance with the regulations on combined travel. If the travelers have not used the amount of said vouchers on their expiration date, they may request a refund from the travel agency.

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The extension of the temporary aid framework approved by the European Commission on January 28, 2021, allows reimbursable instruments (guarantees, loans, etc.) to be converted into direct aid, up to an amount of 1.8 million euros per company . Acave denounces cases of non-payment such as with Royal Air Marroc or Aeroflot, and other denounced airlines that have entered into insolvency proceedings, such as South African Airways, or in the process of US bankruptcies, such as Aeromexico or Avianca , a situation that makes the reimbursement of outstanding amounts very difficult.

Acave has 450 associates and around 1,000 points of sale throughout Spain. Agencies of the different types are part of the association: holiday and corporate stations, tour operators, coastal and city receptive stations, online and cruise agencies

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