Monday, 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook goes into liquidation

Thomas Cook,  one of the worlds oldest travel companies collapsed into administration early on Monday morning, following a last ditched attempt to rescue the ailing came to nothing.

A meeting was held between the firm's senior executives and key stakeholders and creditors in London on Sunday, with the express intention of coming up with a recuse plan, after the UK government refused to bail out the company.   

The bleak notice the firm put on its website in the early hours stated:

Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver.

The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled.

A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings.
Please visit:

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has already swung into action in a mass repatriation plan, chartering 40 aircraft from around the world to collect Thomas Cook passengers from holiday airports around Europe and further afield. It is understood aircraft from Eastern Airlines and Malaysian, are among those chartered by the CAA to take over from the Thomas Cook airlines schedules to bring people back. The plan is to operate a 'shadow' type airline, bringing Thomas Cook passengers home as close as possible to their originally scheduled return date.   

There are an estimated 600,000 Thomas Cook customers currently on holiday, of which around 160,000 are from the UK. The travel firm, founded in 1841 to operate temperance day trips, employs around 21,000 staff, with approximately 9,000 in the UK and is one of the largest travel companies in the World. It serves an average of 19 million customers each year in 16 different countries, with annual sales of £9 billion.

In a full statement, the firm said it had desperately tried to secure final terms over the weekend on a restructuring that would ensure the survival, but "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."

The statement continued, "An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the Company before opening of business today and an order has been granted to appoint the Official Receiver as the liquidator of the Company. We anticipate that the Official Receiver will make an application to the High Court for members of AlixPartners UK LLP to be appointed as Special Managers in respect of the Company, to act on behalf of the Official Receiver, and we further anticipate that an order will be granted to that effect. As part of this process, a number of other Thomas Cook Group companies have also entered into compulsory liquidation, with members of either AlixPartners UK LLP or KPMG LLP (depending on the company) being appointed as Special Managers in respect of the relevant Group companies.

We expect that AlixPartners UK LLP will now work very closely with the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK, to effect the repatriation of all UK customers impacted by this announcement. 

Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook commented: “We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers.  Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.

“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. Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.

“Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation.

“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”

The Government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, from Monday 23 September to Sunday 6 October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK. Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights.

Passengers in a small number of destinations may return on alternative commercial flights, rather than directly through the Civil Aviation Authority's flying programme. Details and advice for these passengers are available on the dedicated website.

The Civil Aviation Authority has launched a special website,, where affected customers can find details and information on repatriation flights, as well as advice on accommodation for both ATOL and non-ATOL customers.

The CAA says that "Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates. This will apply to both ATOL protected passengers and those who are not protected."

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: "“News of Thomas Cook's collapse is deeply saddening for the company's employees and customers, and we appreciate that more than 150,000 people currently abroad will be anxious about how they will now return to the UK.  

“The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers on what is the UK's largest ever peacetime repatriation.

“We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK's largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world. The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately, some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home.

“We urge anyone affected by this news to check our dedicated website,, for advice and information.”

Some part of the Thomas Cook Group will continue to operate, "Condor continues to fly! Flights are operating as scheduled." the German Condor division assured customers. 

Key dates in the Thomas Cook history.
1841 - Thomas Cook organises his first excursion, a rail journey from Leicester in central England to the neighbouring town of Loughborough. A special train carries some 500 passengers a distance of 12 miles and back for a temperance meeting.

1855 - Thomas Cook’s first continental tour. He takes two parties from the eastern English port of Harwich to Antwerp, then to Brussels, Cologne, Heidelberg, Strasbourg and, finally, to Paris for the International Exhibition.

Cook offers a complete holiday “package” (comprising travel, accommodation and food) for the first time. Thomas also offers a foreign exchange service for the first time.

1865 - Thomas Cook opens his first high-street shop in Fleet Street, London.

1874 - Thomas Cook launches “Cook’s Circular Note” a precursor of the traveller's cheques, in New York.

1896 - Thomas Cook & Son is appointed Official Passenger Agent for the first modern Olympic Games in Athens.

1919 - Thomas Cook & Son is the first travel agent in Britain to advertise pleasure trips by air.

1928 - Frank and Ernest Cook, the two surviving grandsons of Thomas Cook, retire, selling the business to the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens.

1948 - Becomes state-owned under the British Transport Holding Company.

1972 - Privatized and bought by a consortium of Britain’s Midland Bank, Trust House Forte and the Automobile Association.

1990 - Thomas Cook becomes the world’s leading foreign exchange retailer when it acquires the retail foreign exchange operations of Deak International.

1992 Westdeutsche Landesbank, Germany’s third-largest bank, and the LTU Group, Germany’s leading charter airline, acquire the Thomas Cook Group from Midland Bank.

1994 - Thomas Cook acquires Interpayment Services Limited, a subsidiary of Barclays bank, to become the largest supplier of traveller's cheques outside the United States.

1994 - Thomas Cook sells its travel management business to American Express.

1999 - The European Commission approves the merger of Thomas Cook and Carlson Leisure Group’s UK travel interests.

2001 - Thomas Cook completes the sale of its Global and Financial Services division to Travelex.

2001 - Thomas Cook is acquired by the German travel company Condor & Neckermann, which changes its name to Thomas Cook AG.

2007 - Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc merge to form Thomas Cook Group plc, bringing a stronger Nordic focus with the incorporation of the Ving, Spies and Tjäreborg businesses.

2011 - Thomas Cook merges its UK retail operations with those of the Co-operative Group and the Midlands Co-operative Society, creating the UK’s largest chain of travel agents.

2015 - Thomas Cook Group plc announces a new partnership with Chinese investment group Fosun International Limited.

May 16, 2019 - Company issues its third profit warning in less than a year. 

Aug 2018, 2019 - Thomas Cook agrees the main terms of a rescue package that will see Fosun Tourism take a 75% stake in the company with creditor banks and bondholders acquire its airline.

September 19, 2019 - Banks including RBA and Lloyds demand Thomas Cook raises and an extra £200 million to act as a contingency fund for the winter period.

September 22, UK Government refuses to help Thomas Cook with the £200 million bailouts.

September 23, Thomas Cook goes into administration.

The Thomas Cook Airlines Fleet

Thomas Cook Airlines UK

3   Airbus A320-200
35 Airbus A321-200
8  Airbus A330-200

Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia

8 Airbus A321-200
3 Airbus A330-300

Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics

6 Airbus A320-200

Condor (Germany)
7   Airbus A320-200
14 Airbus A321-200
1   Airbus A330-200
15 Boeing 757-300
16 Boeing 767-300ER

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