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Thomas Cook collapses, putting over 20,000 jobs at risk

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  • Thomas Cook collapses, putting over 20,000 jobs at risk

    Thomas Cook has collapsed after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the 178-year-old holiday firm failed.

    The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the tour operator has "ceased trading with immediate effect".
    It has also triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.


    Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's chief executive, said the firm's collapse was a "matter of profound regret".
    Commenting as the company entered compulsory liquidation, Mr Fankhauser also apologised to the firm's "millions of customers, and thousands of employees".


    The tour operator's failure puts 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the company's collapse was "very sad news for staff and holidaymakers".


    He urged holidaymakers to be "understanding with staff" amid the "enormous" task of bringing people home.
    Mr Shapps has announced that the government and CAA has hired dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge.


    The emergency operation, codenamed Operation Matterhorn, is aiming to bring home Britons currently on holiday with the firm.


    On Sunday, empty aircraft had already started to be flown overseas, ready to bring British tourists back to the UK on Monday.


    One of the world's best known holiday brands, the business was founded in 1841 in Leicestershire by cabinet-maker Thomas Cook.

    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, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.


    Customers will be brought home to the UK on special free flights or booked onto another scheduled airline at no extra cost.


    Flights will start operating from Monday, with details of each flight to be posted on a dedicated website as soon as they are available.


    The DfT added that a "small number" of passengers may need to book their own flight home and reclaim the costs.


    Customers have been urged not to cut short their holiday or go to the airport without checking the website for more information about their return journey.


    The CAA is also contacting hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers, who have booked as part of a package, to tell them that the cost of their accommodation will be covered by the government, through the Air Travel Trust Fund and Air Travel Organiser's Licence scheme (Atol).


    The CAA said in a statement: "All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.


    "We know that a company with such long-standing history ceasing trading will be very distressing for its customers and employees and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this news."


    Tim Johnson, policy director of the CAA, told BBC News it has chartered "more than 40" aircraft, which are already in position, to bring passengers home.


    He urged customers in the UK who were due to travel not to go to the airport "because very sadly your flight has been cancelled".


    Mr Johnson added: "For those who have not yet started their holiday, we will be publishing details of how they can claim a refund on the website, no later than next Monday."


    Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has said she will write to the Insolvency Service urging them to "fast-track" their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Thomas Cook going into liquidation.


    The DfT said the investigation will also consider the conduct of the directors.


    Speaking to BBC News from Manchester airport, travel expert Simon Calder said Thomas Cook "wasn't ready for the 21st Century".


    He said: "It was using a model that was great for the second half of the 20th Century where people would obediently go into their local travel agency and book a package holiday.


    "Now everybody can pretend they are a travel agent. They've got access to all the airline seats, hotel beds, car rentals in the world and they can put things together themselves.


    "Thomas Cook simply wasn't differentiating enough."


    Mr Calder, travel editor at The Independent, added that planes at the airport began to be impounded shortly after 00:00 BST.

    Thomas Cook had secured a £900m rescue deal led by its largest shareholder Chinese firm Fosun in August, but a recent demand from its lending banks to raise a further £200m in contingency funding had put the deal in doubt.


    Fosun said in a statement it was "disappointed" following news of the collapse.
    It added: "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."


    The holiday company had spent all Sunday in talks with lenders trying to secure the additional funding and salvage the deal, but to no avail.


    It had also asked the government for financial aid, a solution also urged by Labour and union groups.


    But on Sunday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC the government did not "systematically step in" when businesses went under unless there was "a good strategic national interest".


    Customers on a package holiday have Atol protection - a fund paid for through industry levies - which will cover the cost of their holiday and repatriation.


    Thomas Cook has blamed a series of issues for its problems including political unrest in holiday destinations such as Turkey, last summer's prolonged heatwave and customers delaying booking holidays because of Brexit.


    But the firm has also faced fierce competition from online travel agents and low-cost airlines.


    In addition, many holidaymakers are putting together their own holidays and not using travel agents.

    Source: BBC
    Very sad for the 20,000 employees, what an awful time of year to lose your job.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Wayne View Post
    Very sad for the 20,000 employees, what an awful time of year to lose your job.
    I don’t think there’s a good time of year to lose your job.
    Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as a surprise. There is little need for travel agencies nowadays, so they really have to provide some distinctive value for money, which most of them fail to do. Booking a cheap flight and an all-inclusive hotel to a popular holiday destination is not rocket science. The only agencies I see thriving are those who offer trips with lots of unique activities and local guides at more “adventurous” destinations. I honestly think the only thing that you can still sell these days are really exclusive packages with day trips that are challenging to organise by yourself.

    I’m a typical “book-it-yourself” traveller (always have been), and in this day and age it has become so easy that I actually LOVE doing it and would even volunteer to do it for my friends, if they can’t be bothered. Hell, I would start a travel agency, if it wasn’t a dying business...

    20000 people, that is downright horrible. But it was only a matter of time, I guess.

    Comment


    • #3
      I’m surprised it’s taken this long for these traditional holiday agencies to kick the bucket - the model is outdated and their online presence isn’t as competitive price-wise, probably because they had huge overheads.

      Awful for the staff, it feels so cut-throat as well the way they’ve just ceased business with immediate effect.

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      • #4
        I don't know about you guys, but I pretty much suck at all the things I'm not good at. So I need an expert to clear the things for me as it would be a mess for me to do it all on my own, including insurances, trading, everything about the car or travelling. I don't have the time and the interest to search everything on my own, so I'd prefer to tell somebody which type of trip I want and let the expert do the job. The only problem in the whole story is that I don't go on a trip... In fact I haven't been during the last 18 years if not for mandatory class trips.
        ~ representing the LBC ~

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        • #5
          I'm not really surprised this type of companies go bankrupt. I mean, in today's world it's so easy and cheap to travel on your own that there's no point in overpaying to an agency for arranging a hotel or something, unless you're an elderly person who's never travelled. The good thing is that it's never been as easy as now to find a job so all these people should be fine very soon.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by maroon View Post
            I'm not really surprised this type of companies go bankrupt. I mean, in today's world it's so easy and cheap to travel on your own that there's no point in overpaying to an agency for arranging a hotel or something, unless you're an elderly person who's never travelled. The good thing is that it's never been as easy as now to find a job so all these people should be fine very soon.
            Now, that’s one hell of a generalization - and highly inaccurate.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by maroon View Post
              I'm not really surprised this type of companies go bankrupt. I mean, in today's world it's so easy and cheap to travel on your own that there's no point in overpaying to an agency for arranging a hotel or something, unless you're an elderly person who's never travelled. The good thing is that it's never been as easy as now to find a job so all these people should be fine very soon.
              Originally posted by LittleLinda View Post
              Now, that’s one hell of a generalization - and highly inaccurate.
              That is the most idiotic statement I have ever heard. Bruuuhhhhhh!!!!
              | Ciara | Beyoncé | Janet | Toni | Kelly R | Leona | Tinashe | Whitney | Brandy | Monica | Tevin | Mariah | Britney | Tamia |

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