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AFTA CEO Update

                       Travel Daily Exclusive - Tuesday 19 February

BREXIT; in part, a word used to describe what could be called a total mess, a failure of the will of the people or perhaps a political nightmare, but however you look at it as the deadline looms, it seems more cracks are appearing. Even with a parliament that appears to be pulling itself apart at a time when it should be cooperating to get a result for the people who elected them, it seems that an agreeable outcome is further away than ever.

DFAT will be releasing regular updates on Brexit over the coming weeks and while for now there is no indication that any change will be required for Australians travelling to the UK or Europe, it is something that will need to be on everyone’s watch brief. As reported this week, the latest airline to call “goodbye times” is flybmi.

The news broke this week that the airline had collapsed and passengers were left to work it out for themselves. The driving excuse by the failed executive of this airline - Brexit. I guess it is better than other excuses used by failed airline executives, I think in the past 15 years the count is something like 815 airlines failed, so I would imagine there is now either an IATA Resolution or perhaps a handbook on what excuse is best to use.

It seems to me that the Brexit excuse may be a long bow. Why is it that there are still all the other airlines flying around Europe - and there are plenty of them still flying - yet this one calls it quits? Fortunately for the Australian travel market, flybmi had little to no penetration and while I am sure there will be some Australians caught up in this collapse, hopefully they paid with a credit card and can get a chargeback. In fact, the notice issued at airports all over the flybmi network basically gives that advice to travellers as a first point of call. That is, go see your bank and apply for a chargeback.

As I have said many times in the past when an airline collapses the flow on ramifications are extensive for not only the travellers but potentially for the travel agent as they may get trapped in the chargeback merry-go-round. While we are yet to establish if there are any Australian travel agent claims, it is a very obvious demonstration of why the AFTA Chargeback Scheme is in place and important to travel agents as they look to mitigate their risk against these type of industry failures. If you are not yet a part of the ACS scheme, perhaps today is the day to apply. CLICK HERE for all the details.

A final unrelated note, today marks the 77th Anniversary of the bombing of Darwin in World War II. Flags in the NT on official sites will fly at half-mast from dawn till noon. If you can believe it there is one person still alive (now 99 years old) who was part of the Australian squadron who bombed the submarine attack. Brian Windspear is the sole living member of those times past and he is the most amazing Australian who is advocating for better recognition and today in Darwin there will be a plaque laid for remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war. Lest we forget.