Holiday Best reschedules summer programme after EU bans airline

New tour operator Holiday Best has rescheduled its summer flight programme after reports Southwind Airlines has been banned in European Union airspace.

The Turkish charter airline had hoped to fly customers of Holiday Best from 10 regional UK airports and key hubs from April until October this year.

The operator, which has an Atol for 81,000 passengers in its first year, has just started to work with travel agents following its consumer launch last summer.

More: Holiday Best poised to roll out booking portal to trade

Holiday Best chief marketing officer John Milburn said: “Following the EU airspace news we have rescheduled our summer programme and allocated customers on alternative flights with our other partner airlines.

“We have taken a business decision to reschedule our summer programme.”

Milburn said the “majority” of clients’ flight arrangements have already been rescheduled while the remainder will be contacted “over the next couple of days”.

He added: “We have rescheduled customers with a number of our partner airlines, depending on the route and based on the closest to original departure details.”

Regional airports contacted by Travel Weekly said plans to operate the airline out of the UK had never been confirmed.

It is understood the airline was banned by the EU from flying to, from or over EU airspace from March 28, 2024.

This followed a ban by Traficom, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency, which has banned the airline from flying to Finland.

This is based on its assessment that the “substantial ownership and effective control of the airline is not held by the stated Turkish individuals or companies”.

Traficom director general Jarkko Saarimäki said: We have concluded that the airline and its control are linked to Russian stakeholders.”

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