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Barrhead offers credit scheme

Phil Davies and Amie Keeley

Barrhead Travel is launching a ‘buy now, pay later’ credit scheme for purchasing holidays.

The finance package, believed to

be the only one currently offered offline through an agency, allows customers to spread the cost of a holiday over 12 months. Initially available at five

branches, the scheme will be expanded across Barrhead’s 61 agencies throughout the year and will be available to apply for online. Customers will be able to borrow

up to £15,000 on all types of holidays at a rate of 15.9% interest. Barrhead, which partnered with

broker HMC Funding to source a third-party lender, said customers would fill out an application form on an agent’s iPad and would receive an answer within minutes. Barrhead chairman Bill Munro

said work on the initiative began nine months ago and included obtaining a Credit Licence from the Financial Conduct Authority. He said: “We implemented a holiday finance initiative several

years ago, but it didn’t work well due to the complexity and the time taken for approval. “Our new offering is much

more streamlined, providing an immediate response.” Munro added: “We believe

this facility will be welcomed by our customers, bringing more payment flexibility that will enable them to budget for their holiday. “This could also benefit those

who perhaps hadn’t planned on travelling at short notice.” Associate director Mark Brock

said: “It’s a question of giving customers all the different [payment] choices available. We’re just following what’s already happening in other industries.” Brock added that as well as

helping increase the number of holidays Barrhead sells, it would make a wider choice of holidays affordable to more customers. Similar schemes have been

offered in the industry. A ‘Fly Now, Pay Later’ scheme was set up last year by Travelfund, allowing holidaymakers to borrow up to £2,000, while Thomas Cook offers an interest-free monthly direct debit scheme.

LoloFlights defers launch until 2017

Lucy Huxley

Start-up peak-season flights operator LoloFlights has cancelled its launch for 2016 and begun the refund process of more than a 1,000 tickets sold through the trade.

Owner Paul Dendle had planned to operate flights from Bournemouth and Manchester to Greece this summer, using a former British Midland Boeing 737-500, owned by aircraft broker AirX. But he told Travel Weekly: “We have decided to cancel the programme due to poor sales. “The model is right, but in

hindsight the timing was wrong. “When we planned the launch,

the date of the Brexit referendum hadn’t been announced, the Brussels terrorist attacks hadn’t happened, and the economic chill winds from China hadn’t started blowing in.” He said his venture had also been

Bill Munro: ‘Scheme will offer customers more choice’

hit by competitors rapidly matching his £40-£50 cheaper fares. Dendle said letters would this

week be sent to agents who had booked customers on LoloFlights,

and insisted that all sales were financially protected through a trust fund. The refund process is expected to take 10 days. Most trade sales had come through about 20 OTAs. Dendle, who founded seat-broker

Avro in 1984, said he was planning to resurrect the operation for summer 2017, but not with AirX. He claimed his niche model was

still viable as it was based on the low price of fuel. “Because of the reduction in

the price of fuel, a lot of the old ‘gas-guzzling’ aircraft have become economic again,” he said. “We can’t compete with the

no-frills on a full-season basis, but we can in peak season and by giving agents some advantage on price”. Dendle said his operation was

ready to be rekindled as soon as he could find a new airline partner. “Agents and OTAs have lost the

leverage they used to have with the no-frills carriers,” he said. “They no longer get a deal – the

price is set. So if we can give them choice and a bit of bargaining power, there will be reduction in price for consumers in peaks, which might erode the margins of the no-frills giants a bit.”

19 May 2016 5 3 STORIES HOT

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