Israeli jets fly back XL passengers

By Jan Shure, September 15, 2008

More than 200 British passengers stranded in Taba by the collapse of tour company XL, have been flown back to the UK from the Israeli airport of Ovda.

The 210 passengers had booked their Egyptian Sinai resort holidays through Longwood Holidays and Peltours, which also run holiday programmes to Eilat.

The holidaymakers were due to have returned from Taba to Manchester on Monday on an XL charter flight, but after XL Leisure Group -which comprised holiday, flight and hotel companies - went into liquidation early last Friday, the holidaymakers were left without return flights.

Rafi Caplin of Longwood explained: "Initially, from their statements, we believed the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] would arrange for our passengers to be flown home, but they then told us they had ‘no capacity', so we had to arrange a flight. Sun D'Or, the Israeli airline, was very helpful, and had a plane available on Monday so it worked out well."

Stuart Lewis, managing director of Peltours, said: "There wasn't any panic. Our rep in Taba said that when she spoke to people over the weekend, they were very relaxed about it. They told her ‘We know they'll get us back somehow.'".

The operation was believed to have cost the two operators £84,000.

Last updated: 3:20pm, September 18 2008