Greek online travel agent Tripsta/airtickets on Thursday, June 28, announced that it is temporarily suspending the issuance of new airline tickets.
Over the last few months the OTA had gained the international status of one of the biggest players in the online air ticketing market. Recent figures showed that the OTA had reached a production of over 35 percent of all Greek BSP (Billing Settlement Plan) sales, reaching a year-over-year increase in monthly sales of over 150 percent.
However, in today’s announcement, Tripsta/airtickets says that “a massive liquidity problem” has made it “impossible to continue functioning properly” and fulfill its obligations to airline companies.
According to sources, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had recently claimed that Tripsta failed to meet the deadlines of their remittance obligations for the sales of the month of May – owing 69 million euros to the BSP.
IATA, in order to not place Tripsta/airtickets under default, limited the OTAs sales to credit cards only (since early June). It had came to a “repayment agreement” with the OTA that included monthly installments to pay off the debt until the end of 2020.
At the same time, all airlines were closely monitoring the situation. According to market sources, some airlines had decided to eliminate further risk by terminating ticketing access to the Tripsta/airtickets, which resulted to limited sales and thus lesser revenue.
According to Tripsta/airtickets, its current financial state is due to “unfair and aggressive behavior” of “certain partners and multinational global distribution systems”. The company noted that it intends to take legal actions “to seek justice for this unethical situation”.
Moreover, the OTA has assured that the websites of Tripsta and airtickets will continue to work properly and consumers that have purchased air tickets through the platforms will not face any problems.
The announcement by Tripsta/airtickets follows the 2014 closing of airfasttickets, another major OTA in the Greek market, which seized operations due to a debt of millions of euros to airline companies.
Tripsta SA, which also operates the travelplanet24 brand, merged with airtickets in 2015 in an aim to become the largest OTA in South East Europe and Greece’s largest travel company.
In regards to the financial difficulties of Tripsta/airtickets, Aegean Airlines S.A., parent company to airlines AEGEAN and Olympic Air, said that “total group exposure today is estimated at an amount no higher than 400,000 euros”.