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Coronavirus: STA Travel folds in latest travel industry loss

STA Travel agents on Sussex St, Cambridge, England, UK. STA claims to be the world's largest travel company for students and young people. (Photo by: Andrew Michael/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
STA, which claims to be the world's largest travel company for students and young people, announced on Twitter it would 'cease trading.' Photo: Andrew Michael/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

STA Travel, a company focused on providing package holidays for students and young people, has become the latest travel industry loss of the coronavirus pandemic.

The travel industry has been battered by coronavirus lockdowns and global groundings, and many companies are fighting to survive as it is still unclear when things will fully return to normal again.

STA has more than 50 shops in the UK, and its parent company fell into administration on Thursday. Closure will result in around 500 job losses.

It was licensed to carry around 30,000 package holidaymakers a year under its Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) bond.

STA Travel UK said in a statement on Friday that while it had taken measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, sales had remained low due to “consumer uncertainties, further restrictions and renewed lockdown measures.”

In a note posted on Twitter, the company said: “Due to the recent announcement that STA Travel UK has ceased trading, unfortunately our team are unable to assist you at this time.

“Please be assured that if you had a previous booking with us, or hold a live booking, you will receive further communication in the coming days. We are sorry for the inconvenience and the limited information available to you at this time.”

Among other advice, ABTA, the trade association for the UK travel industry, released this information for those who have a booking with STA: “The majority of holidays sold by STA Travel Limited were flight-inclusive packages and these were protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme, as well as scheduled airline tickets under its IATA licence and as agent for the airline.

“STA Travel Limited also sold some packages which did not include flights and were protected by ABTA as well as holidays as an agent for other tour operators.”

STA launched in Australia in 1971 before expanding to the UK after the collapse of student travel company NUS travel.

Many customers who have had trips cancelled due to the pandemic still haven’t received refunds.