A BRADFORD on Avon travel agency has written to more than 700 customers to reassure them it is trading normally following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

On September 23, Thomas Cook went into liquidation to include Freedom Travel Group Ltd, of which Bradford on Avon-based Holidays & Cruises was an accredited member through the Association of British Travel Agents.

Steve Plummer, the Operations Director of Holidays & Cruises, said: "This came like a bolt out of the blue and shocking everyone customers and trade partners alike.

"We re-bonded our business within 24 hours and are trading normally; we have forward bookings through to November 21.

"Freedom Travel Group were responsible for providing us with ABTA membership to protect non-flight inclusive holidays.

"They also provided an ATOL facility under License 6042 to protect flight inclusive holidays; commercial agreements with suppliers and managed our customers' transactions to include paying suppliers for their holidays.

"Holidays & Cruises membership of Freedom Travel Group and the facilities provided ceased with the failure of Thomas Cook.

"We took immediate steps to re-protect the business by becoming members of the Travel Trust Association, establishing a Trust Account for Holidays & Cruises through The Travel Network Group, the only travel brand in the UK to offer the consumer 100 per cent financial protection. We took this decision to protect the interests of our customers and our business going forward."

The travel agency is also contacting 700 customers who placed coach-tour forward bookings with its Travel Club.

Mr Plummer said: "Their monies are protected but the clients need to follow the guidelines from ABTA to make claims on monies paid.

"We have our own Trust Account with the TTA to 100 per cent financially protect clients' monies going forward.

"Our clients will need to rebook as a new booking with us by making the payment again.

"We are still here to support our clients, like they have supported us, and their monies are recoverable.

"We are working through by tour date and will contact all clients in the next few days to advise on the procedure."

Mr Plummer added: "The scale of the Thomas Cook Group failure is unprecedented and the official bodies managing the repercussions are the Civil Aviation Authority, ABTA and KMPG, the liquidator, who are communicating directives some of which still need further clarification.

"We will be contacting our customers in the coming days to re-confirm the status of their personal holiday arrangements and how these are to be managed going forward.

"Customers may also in the interim receive direct contact from the tour operator/cruise line operating their arrangements to reassure them these are protected and that their booking will proceed as normal.

"Although Thomas Cook failed and payment to many suppliers remains outstanding all monies customers have paid to us as Freedom Members are protected.

"Holidays & Cruises continues to be a fully licensed operational Travel Agent and all future communications and bookings will be conducted under our new trust account."