The bankruptcy of Thomas Cook causes the repatriation of thousands of tourists
The British travel company needs about 250 million dollars to continue its activities. It could cause the greatest evacuation since World War II. Your travel agencies should close. Airplanes stop flying and employees (about 22,000 in the world, 9,000 of them in the UK) could lose their jobs.
The bankruptcy of Thomas Cook
The famous British travel and tourism operating agency Thomas Cook announced on Monday September 23 that his attempt to find $ 250 million of capital injection failed. Then the legal process of bankruptcy and liquidation will begin immediately. The 178-year-old British firm negotiated intensely throughout the weekend in search of a capital contribution of about £ 200 million to prevent collapse.
“Despite the enormous efforts, the discussions did not reach an agreement between the shareholders and those who proposed a new contribution of money,” the company said in a statement. Therefore, “the board concluded that there was no other option but to take the first steps to start the liquidation process with immediate effect.”
Simultaneously, the British Aviation Authority (CAA) said in an official note that the firm:
“tourism operator and aviation company, has ceased its activities with immediate effect.”
Before this table, the authorities now have the enormous task ahead of repatriating almost 600,000 tourists, clients of Thomas Cook, in various countries of the world, including 150,000 British.
Repatriation of Tourists & Travelers
The repatriation of these tourists constitutes an unprecedented operation in Britain since the Second World War. Repatriation could take a period of two weeks, the maximum time of the stays that Thomas Cook markets.
The firm had been founded in 1841 and therefore was the oldest tour operator in the world, and had 22,000 employees, 9,000 of them in the United Kingdom. But for several years it has faced competition from other companies and an uncertain economic environment, particularly in Britain, because of Brexit’s unknowns and the fall of the pound.
What happens in case of bankruptcy and liquidation?
The first consequence is that the group’s activities will have to cease immediately. Then several administrators will be appointed, probably from audit cabinets, to try to find a buyer for the company. Also restructure the debt or sell some activities.
Who would be responsible for repatriation?
The repatriation would be organized by the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as was done in the case of bankruptcy in October 2017 of the British airline Monarch. The cost of the operation would reach hundreds of millions of pounds, about 600 million in the United Kingdom alone. The CAA plans an emergency plan, called “Matterhorn,”. The plan is inspired by the name of a US bombing operation against Japanese forces during World War II.
How to protect the rights of tourists?
Thomas Cook assures his British clients that they are protected by the so-called ATOL guarantee. This system, emanating from a European directive, is managed by the CAA. it is applied to tourists who have bought an all-in-one trip (package), with flights and hotel included.
Tourists who are already on vacation can finish their stay and then return on flights from other companies. Those who have not yet left will receive their money back or propose other vacations. The European directiva all-in-one (‘ Package travel directive ’) travel directive applies to other EU countries, which may benefit from guarantees or local reimbursement funds.
Each organized trip feeds a guarantee fund, which serves in emergencies such as the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, AFP reported. The CAA says it will do everything possible to return tourists to their homes on the scheduled day, but flying in other airlines. Travelers who buy only Thomas Cook plane tickets are not covered by the ATOL system, but can claim their insurance or credit card companies.
Recommendations of the official site
Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines.
As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.
The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything we can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019. Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.
If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your arrangements to get home on this website.
If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.
This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers.
Customers already abroad
If you are currently abroad and your flight was with Thomas Cook we are providing new flights to return you to the UK. These repatriation flights will only be operating for the next two weeks (until 6 October 2019). After this date you will have to make your own travel arrangements. From a small number of locations, passengers will have to book their own return flights.
For further advice and details of your return journey please read I am currently abroad. Please note that repatriation flights are only available for passengers whose journey originated in the UK.
If you are currently abroad and due to return to the UK after 6 October 2019, please read the additional information section.
If you are ATOL-protected and are having difficulties with your hotel, please read managing difficulties with accommodation.
PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group. If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline, it will still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers will be affected.
Customers yet to travel out of the UK
We are sorry to inform you that all future holidays and flights booked with Thomas Cook are cancelled as of 23 September 2019.
If you are booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating. The Civil Aviation Authority’s repatriation programme will not include any outbound flights from the UK.
If you choose to book a new flight with another airline out of the UK, you will not be eligible for a repatriation flight.
PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group. If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline it may still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers might be affected.
Further information is available at I have a future booking and have not traveled yet.