Thomas Cook Group ceases trading, enters liquidation

Photo: © Thomas Cook

British travel company Thomas Cook Group plc has filed for insolvency in the night from Sunday to Monday. All booked trips, flights and holidays have been cancelled, the UK’s Department for Transport has announced.

The website of Thomas Cook’s holiday business now displays a statement: “Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver“.

Last-minute talks with creditors, as well as the UK government, to obtain a £200 million (US $249 million) rescue fund had failed on Sunday. The company finally issued a statement on the discussions regarding a rescue deal on early Monday morning:

Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the Company’s stakeholders and proposed new money providers. The Company’s board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.Thomas Cook Group plc

The travel company’s Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser commented:

It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful. I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years.Peter Fankhauser, CEO of Thomas Cook

Along with being a travel agent, simply called ‘Thomas Cook’ – which organizes travel tours and package holidays, Thomas Cook Group also operated its own hotel chains and airlines in several European countries. Its partly separated aviation business consisted of Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Germany-based Condor, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics.

British Thomas Cook Airlines UK has ceased operations at the same time as the group. Its aircraft are being impounded on arrival to the United Kingdom.

Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the 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.UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s German airline, Condor, announced on Twitter that it is continuing normal flight operations. It is unclear how long the airline would be able to survive without its owner. However, it has applied for a transitional loan from the German government to keep its business running. On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Germany and the state of Hesse have approved a rescue loan of €380 million (US $419 million) for Condor.

Earlier on Sunday, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that the government has contingency planning in place to avoid citizens being stranded outside the UK. The CAA has immediately triggered the so called “Operation Matterhorn” to bring back affected passengers. Numerous chartered airplanes from various airlines are now operating rescue flights for British travelers.

Thomas Cook Group employed around 21,000 people globally, with 9,000 of them working in the United Kingdom.

The history of today’s Thomas Cook goes back to 1841, making it the world’s oldest travel company.