World’s oldest travel company Thomas Cook collapses | Lakhs of tourists left stranded

Thomas Cook

The Hus Post| 11:28 pm|two-minute-read|

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm collapsed on Monday. With this hundreds and thousands of holidaying tourists were stranded across the world sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.

The liquidation marks the end of one of Britain’s oldest companies. It started in 1841 running local rail excursions. It was even able to survive two world wars to pioneer package holidays and tourism.

The company ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. It currently has 6,00,000 people abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation.

Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said, “It was a matter of profound regret that the company had gone out of business. It basically failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders in frantic talks that went through the weekend.”

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Thomas Cook had ceased trading and the regulator and government had a fleet of planes ready to start bringing home the more than 150,000 British customers over the next two weeks.

“I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years,” Fankhauser said in a statement released early on Monday morning.

Due to the scale of the situation some disruption was inevitable. All the company’s flights are cancelled

Pictures posted on social media showed Thomas Cook planes being diverted away from the normal airport stands. Some were left deserted once passengers and staff had departed. Employees posted pictures of themselves walking from their last flights.

“Love my job so much, don’t want it to end,” Kia Dawn Hayward, a member of the company’s cabin crew, said on Twitter.

The government and aviation regulator said that due to the scale of the situation some disruption was inevitable. All the company’s flights are cancelled.

“Our contingency planning has helped acquire planes from across the world – some from as far away as Malaysia. We have put hundreds of people in call centres and at airports,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps said.

In Germany, a major customer market for Thomas Cook, insurance companies will coordinate the response.

What are going to be the consequences

The corporate collapse has the potential to spark chaotic scenes around the world. Holidaymakers were stuck in hotels that have not been paid in locations across the world. In the longer term, it could also hit tourism in the company’s biggest destinations, mostly Spain and Turkey, leave fuel suppliers out of pocket and force the closure of its hundreds of travel agents across British high streets.

Thomas Cook has been brought low by a 1.7 billion pound ($2.1 billion) debt pile, online competition, a changing travel market and geopolitical events that can upend its summer season. Last year’s European heatwave also hit the company hard as customers put off last-minute bookings.

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