Thomas Cook collapse: Operation begins to bring home 150,000 stranded holidaymakers

Hundreds of thousands of Thomas Cook holidaymakers could face an anxious wait of up to two weeks abroad. – 2019 Getty Images

launch "the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation".” data-reactid=”23″>Richard Moriarty, the chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said the Government had asked his organisation to launch “the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation”.

In a statement, the CAA said: “Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect.

“All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.”

600,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers, 150,000 of whom are British, have been left stranded. Throughout Sunday, empty aircraft were landing at airports up and down the country as preparations finalised to bring people home.” data-reactid=”26″>Around 600,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers, 150,000 of whom are British, have been left stranded. Throughout Sunday, empty aircraft were landing at airports up and down the country as preparations finalised to bring people home.

Codenamed Operation Matterhorn, dozens of charter planes, from as far afield as Malaysia, have been hired to fly customers home free of charge and hundreds of people were working in call centres and at airports.

 

 

3:47AM” data-reactid=”30″>3:47AM

What is ATOL protection?

There is a lot of talk about whether your Thomas Cook holiday was ATOL protected. Here’s a brief guide about what that means.

 

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Fosun ‘disappointed’ in collapse

Fosun Tourism Group, which noted it is a “minority investor with no board representation” in Thomas Cook, issued a statement after the travel operator’s collapse.

The Chinese conglomerate, which owns Wolverhampton Wanderers, said:

“Fosun is disappointed that Thomas Cook Group has not been able to find a viable solution for its proposed recapitalisation with other affiliates, core lending banks, senior noteholders and additional involved parties.

“Fosun confirms that its position remained unchanged throughout the process, but unfortunately other factors have changed.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to all those affected by this outcome.”

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Dozens of charter planes  hired

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces dozens of charter planes have been hired to fly customers home free of charge.

In a statement, the Department for Transport (DfT) says all customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who are booked to return to the UK over the next two weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their booked return date.

A general view of the Thomas Cook check-in desks in the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport Credit: PA

The DfT says  Thomas Cook package holiday customers will also see the cost of their accommodation covered by the Government, through the Air Travel Trust Fund or Atol scheme.

Mr Shapps said:

“Thomas Cook’s collapse is very sad news for staff and holidaymakers.

“The Government and UK CAA is working round the clock to help people.

“Our contingency planning has helped acquire planes from across the world – some from as far away as Malaysia – and we have put hundreds of people in call centres and at airports.

“But the task is enormous, the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history. So there are bound to be problems and delays.

“Please try to be understanding with the staff who are trying to assist in what is likely to be a very difficult time for them as well.”

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Thomas Cook chief apologies

Peter Fankhauser, the chief executive of Thomas Cook, said the tour operator’s  collapse was a “matter of profound regret” as he apologised to the company’s  “millions of customers, and thousands of employees”. 

“We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers.

“Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.

“It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful.

Thomas Cook chief executive officer Peter Fankhauser Credit: PA

“I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years.

“Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.

“Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation.

“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”

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Website down 

Holidaymakers seeking information are being left frustrated as the website dedicated to the collapse is not up and running.

The website: http://thomascook.caa.co.uk/

 The CAA says:  “We are aware that some users are having difficultly accessing the dedicated website for information and advice following Thomas Cook ceasing trading.

Please keep checking the website as it is currently launching.”

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CAA launches ‘one of the UK’s largest airlines’

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said it had launched “what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines” in order to repatriate British holidaymakers.He said:

“News of Thomas Cook’s collapse is deeply saddening for the company’s employees and customers, and we appreciate that more than 150,000 people currently abroad will be anxious about how they will now return to the UK.

“The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers on what is the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation.

“We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world. The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home.

“We urge anyone affected by this news to check our dedicated website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, for advice and information.”

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Operation begins to bring home holidaymakers

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the Government had asked it to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, starting on Monday and running to Sunday 6 October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.

The CAA statement said:

“Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights.

“Passengers in a small number of destinations may return on alternative commercial flights, rather than directly through the Civil Aviation Authority’s flying programme. Details and advice for these passengers are available on the dedicated website.

“Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates. This will apply to both Atol protected passengers and those who are not protected.

“Customers currently overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website.

“Thomas Cook customers in the UK yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the UK have been cancelled.”

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Thomas Cook collapses

5 things to start your day

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What happened overnight

Thomas Cook has collapsed, a failure that will likely consign the most iconic name in world travel to the annals of history.

launched Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation of customers.” data-reactid=”120″>The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have launched Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation of customers.

The CAA said the tour operator has “ceased trading with immediate effect”.

“All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled,” it added. 

Coming up today

Flash PMI data from France and Germany will set the tone this morning.

Recent results have shown a marked divergence, with the services sector in both countries holding firm as manufacturing suffers amid pressure from global trade tensions and Brexit uncertainty.

There are suggestions that the data may show a pickup, although the bigger picture may still indicate Germany is on track to enter a technical recession. Recent data from France has tended to be more perky than its neighbour.

ASA

Northgate

CBI trends (UK), purchasing managers’ index (eurozone and US)