Dream World Travel owed more than £10m when it collapsed

Dream World Travel owed more than £10m when it collapsed

Bookholidaysonline.com and Bookonlineflights.com parent had just £25,000 in assets when it failed and owned money to the likes of Ecommpay, Paysafe, Checkout, Barclays, The Holiday Team and KAYAK

Liquidators have confirmed operator and agency Dream World Travel owed more than £10.2 million and held just £25,000 in assets when it ceased trading last July.

The cost of the collapse to the Air Travel Trust Fund (ATT) is put at more than £6.1 million. The company, based in west London, was not an Abta member, but held an Iata licence and had traded since 2006 selling mainly long-haul travel. It held an Atol for 4,450 travellers.

Its affairs have proved difficult to unravel. The CAA opened a claims portal for customers in August after delaying the process “because of anomalies”.

Liquidators Opus Restructuring only issued a ‘statement of affairs’ in late December. This reveals the company owes more than £1.3 million to trade creditors, including almost £850,000 to three companies – Kayak, Brightsun Travel and The Holiday Team. It owes Iata more than £52,000 and Barclays £200,000.

In addition, it had run up significant debts with online payment companies, including Ecommpay (£2 million), Paysafe (£400,000) and Checkout (£380,000).

A considerable number of Dream World Travel customers appear to have been left without air tickets or Atol Certificates for flights they paid for in full. Customer creditors are owed sums ranging up to £5,586.

The cost to the ATT is put at £6,092,733. The CAA declined to comment and Opus has so far failed to answer Travel Weekly’s queries. But an industry source with knowledge of the failure described the company’s record-keeping as “abysmal”. It is understood the CAA has accepted about 2,100 customer claims to date and more are expected.

Dream World Travel’s most-recent accounts for the 12 months to June 2021 showed it had £2.3 million in assets against £1.9 million owed to creditors and reported a loss for the pandemic-hit year of just £20,000.

The ATT held less than £20.6 million in March 2020 and gave notice in September 2021, when it last issued accounts, that subsequent failures would cost it £14 million. The fund would have been swelled by the Atol Protection Contributions on bookings through last year.