Thomas Cook collapse

Thomas Cook collapse: UK aviation authority launches 'huge' repatriation effort

by Malsha Fernando 23-09-2019 | 6:43 PM
Reuters - Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel firm, collapsed on Monday (September 23), stranding hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history. Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said it was a matter of profound regret that the company had gone out of business after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders. The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Thomas Cook had now ceased trading and the regulator and government would work together to bring the more than 150,000 British customers home over the next two weeks. The liquidation marks the end of one of Britain's oldest companies that started life in 1841 running local rail excursions before it survived two world wars to pioneer package holidays and mass tourism. Thomas Cook planes stood grounded on the tarmac of London's Gatwick airport and its shops closed on Monday (September 23) following the collapse. Founded in 1841, Thomas Cook employs 21,000 people and has run hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million travelers a year in 16 countries, generating revenue in 2018 of 9.6 billion pounds ($12 billion). It currently has 600,000 people abroad - including more than 150,000 British citizens -forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation. The British government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to launch a repatriation program over the next two weeks, from Monday to October 6, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.