Best­jet’s ATAS court ac­tion

Travel Bulletin - - STATE OF THE INDUSTRY -

The grow­ing im­por­tance of the AFTA Travel Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Scheme (ATAS) was un­der­lined late last month when on­line travel agency Best­jet took the seem­ingly ex­treme ac­tion of ini­ti­at­ing a Supreme Court in­junc­tion against AFTA when the Fed­er­a­tion de­cided not to re­new Best­jet’s ATAS membership. The cul­mi­na­tion of a long-run­ning process, AFTA stated that the OTA had not been able to sat­isfy the cri­te­ria of the ATAS Charter, in par­tic­u­lar sec­tion 2.5 which stip­u­lates that ap­pli­cants and their ‘Close As­so­ci­ates’ “must be a fit and proper per­son to be­come, and re­main a Par­tic­i­pant”. As this is­sue of trav­elbul­letin goes to press the mat­ter is yet to be re­solved, with the in­junc­tion giv­ing Best­jet a week’s de­fer­ral of the ATAS de­ci­sion. Best­jet’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to have its day in court is also set to force AFTA to out­lay sig­nif­i­cant le­gal costs de­fend­ing the mat­ter. The on­line agency, which claims to have sold 180,000 tick­ets last year, is run by Rachel James, whose hus­band Michael was banned from be­ing in­volved in the man­age­ment of any busi­nesses in 2012 af­ter he presided over the spec­tac­u­lar col­lapse of Air Aus­tralia, to the tune of $97 mil­lion and with the loss of 300 jobs.

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