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BUSINESS NEWS


Stuart Jackson: ‘We had a good business proposition. . .[but] we were unsuccessful in our loan application and our options started to narrow’


Fleetway failure ‘due to funding not quarantine’


Chief executive says operator was unable to secure financial aid. By Ian Taylor


Fleetway Travel folded last week after failing to secure a loan through the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and private equity and other investors declined to help. The luxury tour operator, which


sold direct through flash-sale sites Travelzoo, Voyage Privé and Secret Escapes, was run by former Monarch holidays chief Stuart Jackson. He told Travel Weekly: “We had


a good business proposition. We offered exclusive products in a limited booking window with vast discounts


40 23 JULY 2020


on mainly five-star product. Our customers were generally 55-plus, taking multiple holidays and there is growth in that market.” Jackson joined Fleetway in 2016


after it was acquired by private equity firm Synova Capital and the company grew through to 2018. But he said it “faced a lot of headwinds” in 2019 as “Thomas Cook went bust, multiple airline problems hit our cash reserves and Brexit slowed demand”. “The opportunity arose to merge


with DH Enterprises [operating as Great Value Vacations] in the US. It


had a similar model, fitted culturally and there were synergies in global contracting, marketing and technology.” The deal was concluded on


February 14 and Jackson said: “The first full meeting was on February 24 when the announcement came that northern Italy was closed. We never had an opportunity to realise the benefits. Both businesses went into crisis management with no sales and no likelihood of sales.


Continued on page 38 travelweekly.co.uk


BUSINESSNEWS


PICTURE: Sarah Lucy Brown


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