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Thomas Cook collapses leaving 600,000 stranded

thomas cook collapses
There were an estimated 1,000,000 future bookings through the firm that will now not go ahead

Thomas Cook collapses – latest news as airline ceases trading leaving 600,000 stranded

Around 600,000 people including 150,000 Brits have been left stranded after Thomas Cook collapses earlier today.

The holiday firm failed to secure another £200 million it needed to keep the business afloat sparking the biggest ever peacetime repatriation.

All future holidays with the company have also been cancelled, affecting the travel plans of one million people putting 9,000 jobs on the line.

The collapse was confirmed this morning by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which said it had been asked to help bring people home.

Dozens of charter planes have been brought in from as far afield as Malaysia to assist with the mass airlift.

Only holidaymakers with return flights booked within the next two weeks, between Monday and Sunday October 6, will qualify for a free flight home, as close as possible to their original return date.

thomas cook Administration
People are being urged not to go to the airport this morning if they are on Thomas Cook flights or holidays (Picture: PA)

In a statement, the syndicate of Thomas Cook’s lenders said this morning: ‘Unfortunately, and notwithstanding the efforts of all stakeholders, the £1.1 billion funding requirement to adequately recapitalise Thomas Cook has ultimately proved too significant.

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Thomas Cook collapses

‘The Lenders providing finance facilities to the Group have been extremely supportive stakeholders, including through two periods of financial distress and have stood behind Thomas Cook over the past twelve months, a period where the Group saw cash outflows of about £1 billion, maintaining that position over the crucial and busy summer holiday period.’

‘Obviously, the Lenders are deeply disappointed that it has not proved possible to rescue Thomas Cook. In partnership with other stakeholders, the Lenders worked tirelessly to examine all options within the timeframe required.’

The CAA said in its statement: ‘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.’

thomas cook collapses
Tourists claimed they were being ‘held like hostages’ in Thomas Cook hotels as the company held final crisis talks (Picture: @Ivana83556697/Twitter; Sarah Addison/Facebook)

Next Monday, September 30, one week into the repatriation process, the CAA will launch a service which will seek to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received.

Thomas Cook’s chief executive Peter Fankhauser said his company had ‘worked exhaustively’ to salvage a rescue package.

He said: ‘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.

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

thomas cook collapse
The Thomas Cook website is now just a holding page following the company’s collapse

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

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said dozens of charter planes, from as far afield as Malaysia, had been hired to fly customers home free of charge and hundreds of people were working in call centres and at airports.

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.

‘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.’

thomas cook group
The collapse of the company has affected hundreds of thousands of people’s lives (Picture: PA)

The CAA’s dedicated website for the firm’s customers,, crashed shortly after the announcement.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said 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.

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, the DfT said.

Unions representing Thomas Cook staff, of which there are 9,000 across the group in the UK, had previously urged the Government to intervene financially.

A million customers will also lose their future bookings, although with most package holidays and some flights-only trips being protected by the Atol scheme, customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

For those on holiday, the scheme will make sure they can finish their holiday and return home.

One of the world’s oldest and largest travel companies, the firm had been trading for 178 years – having been established in 1841 by a cabinet maker who organised a day trip for temperance movement supporters.

According to its website, as of this year the group employed 21,000 people in 16 countries, operated 105 aircraft and 200 own-brand hotels and resorts.

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