Sindbad could not stand the storm

One of the largest in Russia, an online ticket sales agency allowed technical bankruptcy.
One of the largest on the Russian market of online agencies selling tickets Sindbad has suspended work, according to sources, "b", delayed the guarantee payment to the airlines. The company insists that sales will resume in the near future. Other players believe that Sindbad is in a pre-bankruptcy state, and the future of its market as a whole is expected to tighten working conditions and consolidation.

On August 23, Sindbad posted a stub with telephones and e-mail support services. "The site is experiencing technical problems, the work should be restored today and tomorrow," the service operator told Kommersant. According to unofficial information, the company has problems not only of a technical nature: several interlocutors of "Kommersant" in the online travel market assume that the agency does not cope with payments to counterparties. Three of them believe that Sindbad is "in a bankruptcy state."

In particular, Sindbad expired BSP payment (Billing and Settlement Plan - the system of mutual settlements on sales of air transportation of the international civil aviation organization IATA), the source of "Kommersant" in the international booking system specified. Within the system, agents transfer money to BSP for 10 days, BSP acts as a guarantor for airlines.

Sindbad did allow a delay in the transfer of funds, for him this is the first "yellow card", sanctions in the form of disconnection from the system are provided for in case of two such misconducts during the year, confirmed a source close to IATA. "We are talking about very significant amounts that the agent owes to the airlines," he said, not specifying the volume. "We give the agent a period until the end of the banking day following the payment day on August 22nd." According to the interlocutor, BSP can not yet get from Sindbad "sane explanations":

Techniques can fail, but an agent of this level usually has backup systems. When one of the largest online resources does not run the site for several hours, this may indicate serious problems. "

On the morning of August 23, Sindbad stopped responding to Aviasales' search requests, which caused the agency to automatically turn off in a standard procedure in the event of technical problems with the partner, Aviasales spokesman Janis Dzenis told Kommersant. According to him, complaints from users who bought tickets through Sindbad are not fixed. In such cases, it is necessary to check the purchased ticket on the airline's website, making sure that it is written out, one of the interlocutors of "Kommersant" recommends. If the agency, from which the tourist bought a ticket, did not have time to pay its airlines, no one will return money to this tourist, warns the General Director of Travelata Alexei Zaretsky.

According to Kartoteka.ru, the revenue of Sindbad LLC in 2016 amounted to more than 75 million rubles, net profit - 26.5 million rubles. 51% of the company owns Rashid Velimeyev, 49% - Steven Karon. On Thursday, Mr. Velimeyev was unable to contact.

According to the Transport Clearing House (TCH), Sindbad is the fourth in the rating of agencies for the volume of air tickets sales for January-July 2018. Two sources on the online travel market estimate the average monthly number of Sindbad air tickets sold in 20 thousand pieces. "In the summer, up to 70 thousand a month. In a year, taking into account the influence of seasonality - about 300 thousand, "- said the source" Kommersant. " In July 2018 the page sindbad.ru visited almost 944 thousand times, the share of visits from Russia was 80.37%, that is almost 757 thousand, SimilarWeb estimates.

The interlocutors of "Kommersant" recall the case of Eviterra, when more than 6 thousand tickets were canceled during the New Year holidays of 2013-2014 due to the inability to fulfill the company's obligations to TCH and airlines for 167 million rubles. After that, banks and airlines tightened requirements, which caused the agencies to fall into the situation of lowering profitability from 2-3% to almost zero and there were risks of a cash gap due to errors in pricing or dumping, one of the interlocutors points out.

Business today requires significantly more investment than it was at the dawn of the market, confirms Mikhail Sokolov, General Director of OneTwoTrip. "The lack of a loyal audience, limited supply of quality solutions and products leads those players for whom air tickets have remained the only direction, to dependence on paid sales channels, a decrease in profitability and a strong backlog of leaders or bankruptcy," he concludes. "We assume that the market is expected to further tighten requirements from banks, insurance companies, even larger deposits as guarantees," says Andrei Osintsev, Commercial Director of Svyaznoi Travel. As a result, he adds, the consolidation of the market will continue.

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