Go Travel out of business

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Barb Sweet
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Go Travel South/Go Travel Flights, a company that was supposed to begin direct flights from St. John's to Gatwick Airport in London beginning in June has shut down.

"It is with immense sadness that I confirm that effective 5 p.m. Feb. 24, 2010, Go Travel South has ceased all of its operations," founder Hugh Boyle said in a news release.

Marie Manning, St. John's International Airport authority marketing manager says there will be 'plenty of capacity' to Europe this summer, despite the grounding of Go Travel. - Telegram file photo

Go Travel South/Go Travel Flights, a company that was supposed to begin direct flights from St. John's to Gatwick Airport in London beginning in June has shut down.

"It is with immense sadness that I confirm that effective 5 p.m. Feb. 24, 2010, Go Travel South has ceased all of its operations," founder Hugh Boyle said in a news release.

"Poor market conditions for our primary destinations and lack of payment from E-Clear, Go Travel South's credit-card processor have forced us to close our doors after 10 years of holiday making for people in Ottawa, Halifax and Eastern Canada."

The company said it will bring back any customers currently on holiday as scheduled. Anyone who has booked future flights will have to obtain refunds from their credit-card provider.

Stephanie Porter of St. John's had booked tickets for $600 a piece (all fees in) just Tuesday, and wondered why she got no confirmation e-mail. Wednesday she went back on the website to discover the message the airline had shut down.

"In a way I had sort of expected it," Porter said Thursday.

"It happens with airlines you never heard of before."

Porter said when she checked a similar booking with Air Canada it would cost $1,200 a ticket.

"It was a crazy great price," Porter said of Go Direct's cost.

The message on Go Direct's website noted that Monarch airlines is not responsible for the charter program termination.

Leah Rosewell, a public relations and communications executive with Monarch in the U.K. said her company only knows what was stated on Go Direct's website.

Go Direct had hired the Monarch aircraft.

"It's their decision," Rosewell said.

Air Canada recently announced it would resume a direct flight for the summer months to Heathrow. That is be re-evaluated at the end of the season.

With Go Direct's announcement and no competition, some are expressing concern what Air Canada will do.

"At this point in time we're all sitting down with that thought in the back of our minds," said John Dicks, president of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, upon learning of the news.

"It's a wait and see."

Dicks said a direct link to Europe is vital.

"That transatlantic flight is such a critical piece of connectivity and access for the province, it's beyond simple words," he said.

Go Direct's demise makes the Air Canada announcement all the more critical, Dicks said.

"We're really hopeful Air Canada this time around will see that connection as something that is needed and can be promoted to year-round service."

St. John's International Airport authority marketing manager Marie Manning said Go Direct was more appealing to tourists, whereas the demand is mostly in the business sector.

The authority has had no formal contact from Go Direct about the news.

"We can only assume they are not coming," she said.

Manning said Air Canada had decided to re-establish the direct flight before Go Direct announced its flights.

"There will be plenty of capacity to Europe this summer," Manning said.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe is sorry for consumers who are caught by the shutdown. But he's not worried about Air Canada pulling out of the direct flight.

"It's two different products," O'Keefe said, noting Go Direct would have offered a one-day-a- week charter while Air Canada will be five days a week.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the direct flights for this season are "full steam ahead."

"We think it will be successful," said Fitzpatrick, who noted a ticket could be booked for about $850 or less. But it depends on the departure time.

Meanwhile, another national travel outfit is offering Go Direct customers a break.

Discount travel retailer SellOffVacations will provide a $100 credit for customers rebooking their holiday with its participating tour operators.

To make a new booking and receive a $100 credit, customers are asked to contact 1-877-SELLOFF or visit www.selloffvacations.com. Proof of Go Travel South booking number or itinerary is required.

Passengers requiring assistance to retrieve documents from Go Direct required to process their refunds are asked to e-mail customerrelations@gotravelsouth.com

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Air Canada, Gatwick Airport, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador International Airport

Geographic location: St. John's, London, Ottawa Eastern Canada Europe U.K. Heathrow

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Recent comments

  • Cassandra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    I'm willing to bet Air Canada won't be around on the St John's-London flight for long.

  • Ise the By
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I guess tomorrow's business article will be an announcement from the friendly folks at Air Canada notifying us of their cancellation of their St. John's to London-Gatwick flight?

    So much for competition. At least on a national level, one can use Porter (best in my opinion) and WestJet (mildly better).

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Cue announcment from Air Canada saying that there is no demand for flights from St. John's to England.

  • Wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    In about a month or so Air Canada will announce that the market has changed and that a direct flight from St. John's to Heathrow is no longer profitable

  • fedup traveller
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    600 return to England? it's was unbelievable price? well we get what we pay for unfortunately.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Air Canada didn't even get the chance to drive them out of the market! COME ON!

  • Cassandra
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    I'm willing to bet Air Canada won't be around on the St John's-London flight for long.

  • Ise the By
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I guess tomorrow's business article will be an announcement from the friendly folks at Air Canada notifying us of their cancellation of their St. John's to London-Gatwick flight?

    So much for competition. At least on a national level, one can use Porter (best in my opinion) and WestJet (mildly better).

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Cue announcment from Air Canada saying that there is no demand for flights from St. John's to England.

  • Wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    In about a month or so Air Canada will announce that the market has changed and that a direct flight from St. John's to Heathrow is no longer profitable

  • fedup traveller
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    600 return to England? it's was unbelievable price? well we get what we pay for unfortunately.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Air Canada didn't even get the chance to drive them out of the market! COME ON!