Rescue talks fail

Thomas Cook collapses: holidays ruined, 22,000 jobs at risk

No deals: A branch in the Gyle, Edinburgh, which closed today

Thousands of holidaymakers had their plans ruined and more than 22,000 jobs lost as tour operator Thomas Cook collapsed in the early hours of the morning.

Negotiations with Chinese conglomerate, Fosun failed to raise £200 million needed to save the 178-year-old firm and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it has “ceased trading with immediate effect”.

A rescue plan that would have seen £900m in new money pumped into the travel firm fell apart at the last moment, when lenders demanded that Thomas Cook find an extra £200m to get through the winter.

Those talks collapsed and at about 2am the company entered compulsory liquidation putting 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK, many of them at 500 shops and call centres.

The firm’s failure will see the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing about 150,000 British holidaymakers home. Dozens of planes have been chartered by the government to fly customers home free of charge.

Passengers who have booked are advised not to turn up at the airport. Customers on a package holiday have Atol protection – a fund paid for through industry levies – which will cover the cost of their holiday and repatriation.

A statement on the Thomas Cook website said: “Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver.

“The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled. A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings.”

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