Surrey-based business Alternative Airlines, has received support from Barclays through the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
The loan, worth £250,000, will be used to pay staff salaries, as customer enquiries remain high and a large tech team is required to maintain the website and innovate services for the future.
Established in 2007, Alternative Airlines gives travellers the choice to pick flights and prices from over 650 airlines, accepting international currencies and a number of different payment solutions for added flexibility. Pre-coronavirus, the company had a strong three years of fast growth.
The global pandemic, however, has impacted the travel industry, with several companies navigating an uncertain time. Nevertheless, Alternative Airlines is positive about the future, and has focussed on looking after existing customers and developing new features for the website when demand for travel increases.
Sam Argyle, Managing Director, Alternative Airlines said: “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our revenue, which decreased 92% in April compared to February. At the same time, we saw an 800% increase in enquiries for our customer service team.
“Through our Barclays Relationship Director, Toni Burton, we were able to apply for a loan under the CBIL scheme. The process was very slick: all done over the phone within an hour, and the funds were released shortly after that. The loan will help us continue to pay staff wages, and it’s been vital in helping us maintain security and certainty through this period.
“We would definitely recommend for other entrepreneurs out there: if you believe your business can afford the loan, then CBILS is a fantastic way to raise financing for additional cash flow and maintaining business security.”
Toni Burton, Relationship Director, South East London and Kent, Barclays Business Banking adds: “Alternative Airlines is an innovative travel business that was doing really well before the pandemic hit. Between 2016 to 2019, they saw rapid growth with revenue doubling year on year.
“The business wanted to ensure its customers were still receiving the highest possible quality of service, and with access to a CBIL, it has been able to do this. The loan will also go towards paying its employees’ wages and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support their business during this time.”