After an emergency rescue plan failed to takeoff, British travel firm and charter airline, Thomas Cook, has officially gone bankrupt.
During a last minute meeting with major shareholders, creditors, legal firms and other key personnel, Thomas Cook requested £200 million to prevent bankruptcy. Unfortunately for the airline, an agreement was not finalised.
At 02:15 London Time on the 23rd of September, the announcement was made that the airline had ceased all operations, sparking an enormous amount of chaos around their network.
Ticket sales have ceased completely and services for support and news, such as social media outlets, have been abandoned. The company has now become a ghost town as work commences to determine what’s next.
Despite this unfortunate news, Condor, a subsidiary of Thomas Cook, has confirmed flights are operating as per usual and will not be affected by the closure of their parent company.
It is worth noting that Condor has asked the German government for a bridging loan though, which will hopefully help sustain operations to bring passengers home.
Half a Million Stranded
Including their hotel and holiday package business alongside their airline operations, Thomas Cook has over 600,000 people abroad and will have to cooperate with governments and other appropriate authorities to safely return them home.
Destinations facing a large number of stranded tourists include Cancun, Cuba and Cyprus.
To fly the passengers, wet-leased aircraft will be deployed. Additionally, Malaysia Airlines has also taken this opportunity to deploy an Airbus A380 Superjumbo from Kuala Lumpur to Manchester to help collect passengers.
Emotional Employees and Passengers
Flights airborne continued to their destinations, however were greeted with the unfortunate news that left many employees of all categories emotional. Passengers also chose to present their emotions to media, emphasizing the broad impact of such news.
Media reports states flight attendants and pilots were caught shedding tears whilst leaving aircraft, resulting in a very sombre atmosphere that left passengers and surrounding members of the public feeling low.
“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 Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser
Around 22,000 jobs worldwide are said to be affected by the bankruptcy, including 9000 workers employed in the United Kingdom.
Corporate and Tourism Details
Citing Reuters, Thomas Cook was founded by a Baptist preacher who wanted to steer workers away from sin; Thomas Cook went on to forge the foundations of modern mass tourism.
The 178 year development and growth of this journey has now come to an end with a serious £1.7 billion debt.
To cover this debt, and to possibly issue compensation to employees and passengers, Thomas Cook will likely have to sell their fleet of 34 aircraft, which consists of 27 A321s and 7 A330-200s.
As a result of this collapse, Thomas Cook operator Blue Sky Group said 25,000 reservations in Egypt booked up until April 2020 had been cancelled.
Again, citing Reuters, Turkey could miss out on 600,000-700,000 tourists a year now that Thomas Cook has folded. Tourists stuck in Turkey now have to work out how to get home and when.
It is understood over 45,000 tourists are currently in Turkey from the United Kingdom and other European locations.
Being a major income for Turkey, the drop in tourism is not desired at all. Approximately 40 million tourists travelled to Turkey in 2018, equating to a revenue of $29.5 Billion.
What are passengers meant to do?
Since Thomas Cook is no longer able to repatriate its customers, Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL) will have to get involved.
Only passengers who booked a holiday with Thomas Cook will be eligible for ATOL protection, meaning those who just booked flights are not.
Since Thomas Cook is an ATOL holder, they’re required to pay a £2.50 fee per passenger within a booking. The money collected will then be transferred to a fund owned by the Air Travel Trust which is used to recover stranded passengers.
As more information becomes available on the situation, this article will be updated. If you’re affected, it’s advised you contact your insurer, travel agent or bank to sort details for financial compensation/refunds.