Thomas Cook has filed for compulsory liquidation after last-minute negotiations on recapitalisation fell through. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said this morning the tour operator had “ceased trading with immediate effect.”
Just days ago, Thomas Cook Group said that it was in discussions to secure a £200 million standby fund on top of a previous capital injection — a £900 million rescue package from China’s Fosun Tourism Group and other lending banks and shareholders.
After failing to secure the additional funds, however, the group was forced to cease trading, with the first aircraft at Manchester Airport being impounded shortly after 00:00 BST.
The tour operator’s failure puts 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, described the firm’s collapse as a “matter of profound regret,” adding:
“Despite huge efforts over a number of months and further intense negotiations in recent days we have not been able to secure a deal to save our business.”
“It has been my privilege to lead Thomas Cook. It is deeply distressing to me that it has not been possible to save one of the most-loved brands in travel.”
Thousands left stranded worldwide
According to the BBC, 16,000 holidaymakers are booked to come back on Monday. Authorities hope to get at least 14,000 of them home on chartered flights.
The collapse has triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.
The CAA has also stepped in to conduct repatriation flights between 23 September and 6 October, either with CAA-operated flights or existing flights with other carriers depending on location.
Thomas Cook was founded in 1841, and at 178 years old, it was one of the world’s best known holiday brands.
At the time of its collapse, it operated an all-Airbus fleet of 39 A320 family aircraft and nine A330s.