Bestjet’s ATAS court action
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.