First Thomas Cook holidaymakers make it home on £100m airlift

First Thomas Cook holidaymakers make it home on £100m airlift

Flights carrying stranded Thomas Cook customers have started arriving home today amid mounting fury over how its bosses plundered £30million in pay and bonuses before Britain’s most famous travel firm went to the wall.

The first of the rescue planes, operated by pilots and staff from US-based Atlas Air, landed in Manchester, Glasgow and London Gatwick this afternoon as the huge repatriation effort swung into action.

Flights have also taken off from Croatia, Crete and Spain this afternoon as the return of 160,000 British citizens – the largest since the Second World War – gathers pace.

But there was chaos at airports in Spain, Turkey and Tunisia where thousands of holidaymakers including the elderly and young children waited for up to 12 hours in overcrowded airports to be evacuated – and some planes meant for Gatwick, Newcastle and Glasgow will now land at Birmingham and Manchester.

Caroline Ives, 52, who was on the chartered Freebird flight from Dalaman, Turkey to Gatwick, said: ‘In the hotel bar, it was so scary. All you could hear was phones pinging as everyone was panicking. We had a friend with MS who is still left there. She’s really poorly. We were lucky but bless her, she’s really ill.’

Her friend Melanie Cook, 55, added: ‘What can we do? There’s nothing anyone can do. We’re just happy to have survived it all.’

NHS doctor Ali Syed, 28, from south London, was on a Freebird Airlines chartered flight from Dalaman. He said: ‘There had been a breakdown in communications. I broke the news to some people about the delay, and they were shocked. The Thomas Cook reps have been working really hard. There was one woman who had been working for 18 hours straight with no sleep and was going to carry on, and she probably won’t even get paid for it.’ 

An Atlas Air jumbo jet lands in Manchester this afternoon carrying Thomas Cook holidaymakers who were in the U.S. when the company collapsed overnight

Passengers arrived back at Glasgow Airport after being repatriated in the huge rescue effort which swung into action today

Jonny, Elaine and Digs Owen were among the first Thomas Cook passengers to land back into Gatwick Airport from Turkey

homas Cook passengers arrive back at Glasgow Airport from the Greek island of Zante after a rescue plane picked them up

Passengers board a Thomas Cook airplane at Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport, Corfu. Planes with the company’s livery are being in the repatriation effort, although they are staff by other firms’ workers  

Chaos at Son Sant Joan airport in Palma, Majorca today as the business collapsed leaving tens of thousands needing a flight

There were long queues among stranded passengers in the check-in desks on the Greek island of Corfu this afternoon

Holidaymakers were stuck in non-moving queues trailing back outside the terminal at Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport in Corfu

The last Thomas Cook flight into the UK lands at Manchester airport after taking off from Orlando overnight 

Thomas Cook’s 178-year history ended in ignominy for its wealthy bosses today, who have been paid more than £20million in bonuses alone over the past five years – despite the business creaking under £1.7billion in debt and a £500million pension deficit since 2013.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has called for an urgent inquiry into the collapse and the actions of its bosses, including its Swiss chief executive Peter Fankhauser, who has pocketed £8.3million since taking over in 2014. Mr Fankhauser and his two predecessors took home almost £30 million in pay. 

There were tears at Thomas Cook’s Peterborough headquarters today as 9,000 UK staff lost their jobs and were told they would not be paid this month after the world’s oldest travel operator went bust. 

Today a £100million taxpayer-funded fleet of 40 or more planes – temporarily making it the UK’s fifth biggest airline – is heading to cities and resorts across Europe, America, north Africa and Asia to bring 160,00 Britons home from more than 50 destinations including 50,000 people in Greece, 30,000 in the Canary Islands and 20,000 in Turkey.

Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation effort, codenamed Operation Matterhorn, will see around 16,000 people flown back to UK airports every day with the backlog taking a fortnight to clear. 

Thomas Cook cannot bring its own customers home because it lost its licence and insurance to fly when it went bust this morning – but some of its planes are being used by the Civil Aviation Authority to rescue those stuck abroad. 

As Britain’s oldest travel company went bust and a fleet of empty planes is heading out to rescue Thomas Cook passengers, it has emerged: 

  • An estimated 600,000 people are currently abroad on a holiday sold by Thomas Cook or one of its subsidiaries, including 160,000 from the UK. One millions people have had their planned holidays cancelled;
  • 16,000 people are due to fly back on more than 40 taxpayer-funded rescue planes today – but s ome may not fly home to the airport they chose initially; 
  • 21,000 people have lost their jobs today – including 9,000 of the business’ UK staff 
  • Package holidays are covered by ATOL scheme and will be refunded over the coming months – but flight-only passengers may not get cash back; 
  • Government fast-tracks investigation into what went wrong for Thomas Cook as holiday firm – Labour demands Thomas Cook bosses pay back their massive bonuses; 
  • Stunned staff arrive at the holiday firm’s Cambridgeshire HQ in tears as air crew share their grief as being made redundant without pay; 
  • Company’s German holiday airline Condor is still operating as they wait to hear if Angela Merkel’s government offers them a £200m bridging loan.

A passenger sobs on the phone after arriving at the closed Thomas Cook check-in desk at Gatwick today

There were similar scenes at Enfidha International airport near Sousse in Tunisia as customers arrived to find Thomas Cook had gone into liquidation

Passengers disembark a Thomas Cook aircraft at Manchester Airport as the curtain came down on the travel company

Peterborough: There were tears at Thomas Cook’s HQ as staff left with their belongings this morning with 9,000 UK workers losing their jobs

Staff were called into the HQ for a meeting this morning where they learned their jobs were gone and they would not be paid this month

The Boeing 747 (left), carrying the travel company’s famous livery but operated by pilots and staff from US-based Atlas Air, took off from New York’s JFK airport at around midnight local time and will land in Manchester at 5pm today (right)

Thomas Cook collapse: Where to get the information you need

The Civil Aviation Authority has published a help page for Thomas Cook customers: CLICK HERE 

They advise passengers not currently on holiday not to travel to airports as all flights are cancelled. For information CLICK HERE

They have also issued specific details for customers currently abroad: CLICK HERE

For information about managing problems with hotels and accommodation, CLICK HERE 

    Bethany Main, 22, from Newcastle, who is travelling with her partner Rachel Usher 26 and her eight-year-old son back to the north-east from Palma airport, said: ‘It’s absolutely heaving. There must be 1,000 people there. Our flight has been delayed from just after 10am until 7.40pm tonight and it’s been redirected to Manchester and we don’t know how we’re going to get home from there.’ 

    The company’s check-in desks at the 20-plus UK airports the business flew from are shut today with all customers with holidays and flights told they are cancelled – but many will not get their money back for months.  600 high street store are also locked up today with 21,000 jobs lost worldwide.  

    This morning there were cheers and tears as Thomas Cook’s final flight touched down in Britain from Orlando after the travel company collapsed leaving huge numbers of Britons stranded abroad and a million more customers with cancelled holidays. 

    Jason Ritchie, 50, who was on board, said: ‘We were just landing at Manchester Airport when the cabin crew announced that Thomas Cook had collapsed. 

    ‘I spoke to one of the cabin crew who said they’d heard nothing from head office, and hadn’t even spoke to their family – they had no idea where they stood with their jobs.  As we got off the plane, the captain was there to greet everybody and all the staff seemed very choked up over it all’.  

    Where are the 160,000 Thomas Cook customers stranded? 

    Greece – 50,000

    Canary Islands – 30,000

    Spain and Balearic Islands – 20,000

    Turkey – 20,000

    Cyprus – 15,000

    France – 10,000

    Other – 15,000

    Some Thomas Cook staff even went to work for free today. Lucy Beatrice, 23, was desperate to help customers she turned up her branch at 9am – despite losing her job herself. 

    Last-minute talks to try and rescue the ailing firm collapsed last night with nobody willing to service its £1.7billion debt, and the Civil Aviation Authority announced the end for the 178-year-old company in the early hours of this morning.

    Boris Johnson today said that the Government had been asked to bail-out the business with £150million of taxpayers’ money but they had refused.

    He said: ‘Clearly that’s a lot of taxpayers’ money and sets up, as people will appreciate, a moral hazard in the case of future such commercial difficulties that companies face.’  

    Mr Johnson told reporters on board the RAF Voyager travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly he added: ‘It’s a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers with Thomas Cook, the holiday makers, who may now face difficulties getting home. One way or the other the state will have to step in quite rightly to help stranded holidaymakers.’ 

    The questions Thomas Cook’s bosses must answer about its collapse 

    With Thomas Cook confined to history, there are major questions about its collapse:

    • How do the management justify paying the three present and former chief executives almost £30 million in salaries – and £20milllion in bonuses to bosses and board members – despite its parlous financial state? 
    • Why did Thomas Cook take almost a fortnight to disclose to the market that its lenders had demanded an extra £200 million to save the company? 
    • What role did Royal Bank of Scotland play in agreeing that Thomas Cook should go bust?
    • Why did the board allow debt to spiral to £1.7billion? 
    • What were the £357million of ‘separately disclosed items’ in its accounts over the past three years – and did auditor EY look into them?  

    Charter company Titan Airways, based at Stansted, are understood to carrying out a large number of the repatriation flights while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Tui, Jet2 and Malaysia Airlines also approached to step in. 

    Because the Civil Aviation Authority knew Thomas Cook’s collapse was likely planes are either on their way to – or already at destinations in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States. 

    Today some resorts threw their doors open to help people caught up in the crisis.  

    Owners of the luxury Finca De Arrieta eco-resort in Lanzarote will make all unbooked rooms available, free of charge, to anyone stranded on the Canary Island.

    Lanzarote Retreats co-founder Michelle Braddock: ‘This is a devastating blow to the tourism sector in Lanzarote and we feel it is vital that the entire sector rallies here to ensure the minimum damage to the reputation of Lanzarote as a favourite destination for family holidays’.

    Peter Fankhauser, the Swiss chief executive, has taken home £8.3 million since he took the helm in 2014, including a £2.9m bonus in 2015. Former chief executive Harriet Green was awarded a share bonus worth £5.6million. Chairman Frank Meysman has been paid £1.6million since 2014

    A Thomas Cook aircraft now operated by the Civil Aviation Authority with new pilots and staff takes off from Manchester airport, believed to be heading to Corfu to bring people home from Greece

    Manchester: A worker closes the door of the final Thomas Cook passenger aircraft after it landed at Manchester Airport this morning

    Tunisia: British tourists, flying with Thomas Cook, queue at the Enfidha International airport to catch a repatriation flight

    Majorca: Passengers wait for news at the Thomas Cook check-in at Palma Airport this morning as 40 planes are being sent around the world to bring people home

    Antalya: Queues snake out of the Turkish airport where an estimated 20,000 Thomas Cook customers are stuck

    Gatwick: Thomas Cook check in desks are closed today after the travel firm collapsed in the early hours today

    Bristol Airport: Signage telling customers that Thomas Cook has gone to the wall and all flights and holidays are cancelled

    Thomas Cook’s demise could not be announced until all its planes were back on the ground in the UK

    Lines of grounded airplanes with the Thomas Cook livery are seen at Manchester Airport this morning as the company went bust

    All Thomas Cook check-in desks at Gatwick Airport were closed on Monday morning – a scene repeated at 20 UK airports.

    40 rescue planes will be sent around the world to bring home Thomas Cook holidaymakers

    Charter company Titan Airways, based are Stansted, are understood to carrying out a large number of the repatriation flights while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Tui, Jet2 and Malaysia Airlines also approached to step in.

    Because the Civil Aviation Authority knew Thomas Cook’s collapse was likely planes are either on their way to – or already at destinations – in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States. 

    Around 15 empty planes – including a Boeing 747 and an Airbus A380 – were ready for action last night.

    Many were parked at Gatwick and Stansted – some had no livery others were from major airlines.   

    Two empty Eastern Airlines Boeing 767s are en route to the UK, while a Malaysia Airlines A380 heading to Manchester Airport.  

    For information about rescue flights click here.  

    Abroad Civil Aviation Authority and Government staff were on hand to advise passengers who arrived to find the holiday company had gone to the wall. 

    Messages were displayed on screens saying the company had ceased trading and all flights were cancelled. 

    Mike Johnston’s elderly parents arrived in Florida on a Thomas Cook flight on Thursday.

    Back in the UK he is ‘worried sick’ they will not be able to get home.

    He tweeted: ‘My elderly parents arrived in Florida yesterday on your flight. What happens to them of you go under while they are out there??? The booked flight only. They are worried sick and so am I….!!!’

    Kirsty Devlin has boarded one of the first chartered flights back to the UK.

    She was stuck at New York’s JFK airport overnight after she and her fellow passengers heard Thomas Cook had gone bust.

    She tweeted: ‘We’re all stuck in JFK and our luggage is in the plane. No communication or anything.

    So many kind people that represent your business out of work. They’re really the biggest losers in this.’

    An hour later she said the British consulate had ‘saved her bacon’ and she was boarding a flight home to Manchester at around 7am. 

    Pennie and Doug Ingram were due to fly to Barcelona on a five-day city break which had cost them more than £650.

    The couple from Hove, East Sussex, said they were hoping that because their flights were with a different airline they would still be able to travel from Gatwick.

    But Mrs Ingram, 60, said it was really sad that Thomas Cook had ceased trading because they had been booking holidays with them for many years.

    She added: ‘It’s really sad because we were only in the shop yesterday afternoon printing off the boarding passes.

    ‘They (staff) were so upbeat that everything would be fine.

    ‘It’s a shame because we have been booking our holidays with them for years and years, we always go to them.

    ‘It’s a tradition. it’s like losing Woolworths.’

    Thomas Cook staff have taken to Twitter to express their grief about losing their jobs as thousands are now out of work

    Thomas Cook planes were all flown back the UK last night as the company prepared for liquidation (left). The final plane took off from Orlando last night and landed at Manchester this morning

    Boris Johnson lashes out at Thomas Cook directors for failing to ‘sort out’ the crisis engulfing holidaymakers after the firm’s collapse 

    Boris Johnson, pictured talking to reporters as he flew to New York last night, described the collapse of Thomas Cook as a ‘very difficult situation’

    Boris Johnson today lashed out at the directors of Thomas Cook and questioned whether they could have done more to prevent the firm’s collapse.

    Speaking to reporters on a flight to New York where the Prime Minister is attending the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Johnson said the government would ‘do our level best’ to ensure stranded passengers are brought home in good time.

    Thousands of holidaymakers now face a potentially nightmare journey back to Britain as ministers launched the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation.

    An estimated 150,000 tourists will now be brought home by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as part of a flight programme costing the taxpayer £100 million and codenamed Operation Matterhorn.

    Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of this morning after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal.

    Mr Johnson said: ‘This is a very difficult situation and our thoughts are with the customers of Thomas Cook – the holidaymakers who may now face difficulties getting home.

    ‘We will do our level best to get them home. There will be plans to deal with that if it is necessary.’

    The Prime Minister suggested a change in the law might be needed to prevent firms like Thomas Cook leaving the state to take care of their customers.

    He said: ‘I do think we need to look at ways in which tour operators one way or another can protect themselves from such bankruptcies in future.’

    The PM also hinted that directors at firms like Thomas Cook could do more to stave off a situation where customers are left stranded.

    He said: ‘One way or the other the state will have to step in to help stranded holidaymakers.

    ‘One is driven to reflect on whether the directors of these companies are properly incentivised to sort such matters out.’

    Mr Johnson confirmed that the ailing firm had asked the government for a £150 million bail out to stay afloat.

    But he said this was ‘a lot of taxpayers’ money’ and warned that bailing out the firm would have set a dangerous precedent.

    Lewis Bromiley and his wife Amy were due to go on their honeymoon to the Maldives in January after getting married in August.

    Mr Bromiley, a 25-year-old insurance worker from Manchester, told PA: ‘We’ve got our honeymoon package booked which was the last one available in January, and now it’s cancelled. It appears we won’t be able to go to the same place now, and will have to wait a while to get our £7,000 refunded.

    ‘We’ll have to wait for the refund which could takes months, due to the amount of people claiming. We won’t be able to rebook now, we’ll have to change destination as this was the last availability. We booked it over a year ago, so we were well prepared and had got the best deal. Me and my wife are devastated.

    ‘We wanted to go to Maldives as it’s paradise and we’re looking to plan for children soon, so we wanted to tick it off our bucket list, before we couldn’t.

    ‘It was poorly communicated, and their closing statement is poor also. They should still manage the Twitter account for the next 48 hours, to give people the piece of mind they deserve.’

    Lisa Godbeer and her family were due to fly out to Mexico for a trip of a lifetime to celebrate her 40th birthday.

    She said they had paid more than £6,000 for the 10-day holiday to Cancun for her and her husband, her daughter and a friend.

    Ms Godbeer, from Somerset, added: ‘I’m really angry and a bit shocked really.

    ‘We has a joke yesterday saying imagine we get there and it (Thomas Cook) had shut down.

    ‘If it was a couple of hundred quid I wouldn’t care but it’s a bloody lot of money.’ 

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said dozens of charter planes, from as far afield as Malaysia, had been hired to fly customers home free of charge.  

    But he said he was not convinced a £250 million public bailout would have saved travel agent Travel Cook in the long-term.

    He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I fear it would have kept them afloat for a very short period of time and we would have been back in the position of needing to repatriate them in any case.

    ‘The company had systemic issues to do with the world of travel which had changed away from high street shops to everyone booking online, and had at one point £1.7 billion of debt.

    ‘And, putting aside that governments aren’t typically in the business of running travel companies, it was not a case of putting this money in, reorganising somehow and hoping it would all work.

    ‘It just did not seem like that was going to be a possibility.’

    Mr Shapps continued: ‘The company had enormous debts of £1.7 billion. The world had changed in terms of the way people book holidays and all these things over a very long period of time had caught Thomas Cook out.’

    He advised those stranded to head to ThomasCook.caa.co.uk for further information, and urged passengers not to try and travel back early but to complete their holiday.

    ‘I’ve asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to start to prepare aircraft to bring people home,’ he said.

    He said the CAA had been asked to bring everyone home regardless of whether they were Atol (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protected or not. 

    Peter Fankhauser, the company’s Swiss chief executive, has taken home £8.3 million since he took the helm in 2014, including a £2.9m bonus in 2015 – he refused to comment last night

    A closed Thomas Cook shop on East Street, Bedminster, Bristol – one of 600 of its stores in the UK now closed for good

    Glasgow Airport yesterday where Thomas Cook passengers are checking in before flying on holiday

    Passengers talk to Civil Aviation Authority employees at Mallorca Airport as the company collapsed

    Thomas Cook’s check-in stands were deserted at Birmingham Airport today as the company went bust

    There was a similar scene at Manchester Airport as the sun came up there this morning

    Grounded: The Thomas Cook website was replaced with a message from the Official Receiver this morning

    Flight-only customers may not get their money back  

    Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has warned that some Thomas Cook customers may struggle to get their money back if they only booked flights not holiday packages. 

    He said: ‘For those who’d booked future trips, ATOL and ABTA schemes should mean full refunds, but some, especially those who booked flights only, may be unprotected. Travel insurance won’t help for most, as travel company failure cover is rarely included as standard – though check your policy or give them a call.

    ‘If you did book without travel industry or insurance protection, the next route is your card provider. Those who paid more than £100 on a credit card get Section 75 legal protection – which means the card firm is jointly liable with the retailer, so you can get your money back from it. However this may not work if you booked via an agency, or via certain PayPal transactions, as that break in the direct transactional relationship can stop it working – we wait to see how widespread that problem will be.

    ‘If that happens, or you paid by debit card, instead ask your bank to do a ‘chargeback’. This isn’t a legal protection – it is a Visa, Mastercard and Amex rule where your bank gets your money back from Thomas Cook’s bank as you didn’t receive what you paid for. It should work for most people. Those who paid by other methods such as cheques or cash have very little protection sadly.’

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell criticised the Government for failing to bail out Thomas Cook.

    ‘The Government’s intervention could have enabled us to just stabilise the situation, give a breathing space so that there could be proper consultation with the workforce in particular about how to go forward,’ he said.

    Mr McDonnell told the BBC that it was the Conservatives’ ‘ideological bias’ against state intervention that prevented the Government acting.

    He said: ‘To just stand to one side and watch this number of jobs go and so many holidaymakers have their holiday ruined, I just don’t think that’s wise government.’

    The Civil Aviation Authority, who are in charge of the biggest repatriation of British citizens since the Second World War said today: ‘All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.

    ‘There are currently more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad. 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.’

    Thomas Cook’s website was taken down shortly after 2am, and replaced with a message from the Official Receiver. 

    However a page set up by the CAA to provide information to Thomas Cook customers immediately collapsed under the weight of traffic it was receiving.

    However a link to the Civil Aviation Authority’s website crashed, leaving travellers without key information

    Yesterday, executives at Thomas Cook were said to have begged lenders to slash demands for another £200 million.

    Terminally-ill father-of-three, 43, loses chance of final holiday together with his wife

    Terminally-ill Matt Dominic and his wife Lyndsay fear they’ll miss out on the last holiday together after Thomas Cook went bust

    A terminally-ill father-of-three fears he may lose his final holiday with his wife after Thomas Cook collapsed.

    Matt Dominic, 43, and his wife Lyndsay, 42, were planning a week in Tenerife after their lives were shattered when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last May.

    But the couple’s plans have been thrown into doubt after Thomas Cook collapsed this morning leaving holidays booked with the firm shrouded in uncertainty.

    Former Rolls Royce worker Mr Dominic, from Derby, was given six months to live more than a year ago and feared the break could be his last.

    He was hoping to spend ‘kids-free’ time with his wife starting tomorrow after well-wishers helped raise the £1,800 cost of the getaway.

    But the couple say they have been unable to get through to Thomas Cook or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

    Mrs Dominic, who works for Morrisons supermarket, said: ‘He was really looking forward to it. He’s not got a lot to look forward to, bless him.

    ‘We’re beyond fed up. We were toying with packing yesterday but we were preparing for the worst.

    ‘Matt’s got a stinking cold so he was up at 4am this morning – that’s when we found out. We don’t have a back-up plan.’

    The couple’s holiday is covered by ATOL and they expect to get their money back – But they fear there will not be enough time to arrange another break.

    Mrs Dominic added: ‘It’s not possible for us to book another holiday unless we get our money back. And I keep reading that it could take up to two months to get refunded.

    ‘I don’t blame the Thomas Cook staff at all. It’s not their fault. They were kept in the dark as well – I really felt for them to be honest. The bosses are a different matter. They’re all in it for themselves.’

    Thousands of holidaymakers are coming to terms with upcoming trips abroad being cancelled following the collapse of Thomas Cook, with some set to miss holidays of a lifetime, weddings and honeymoons. 

    Thomas Cook CEO Dr Peter Fankhauser said the tour operator’s collapse was a ‘matter of profound regret’ as he apologised to the company’s ‘millions of customers, and thousands of employees’.

    Big four accountancy firm KPMG was expected to be drafted in to handle the administration or liquidation of the company’s UK tour operating division. The Official Receiver will play a part in any insolvency process.

    Meanwhile AlixPartners, a consulting firm, was expected to handle insolvency of the group’s airlines.

    As the uncertainty grew yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab poured cold water on the prospect of a Government bailout.

    But he signalled that officials were ready to give the green light to an unprecedented repatriation operation involving an emergency coalition of Europe’s top airlines. 

    About 165,000 Thomas Cook customers are now stranded abroad, while thousands more who have upcoming holidays have had plans ruined.

    Whitehall sources warned last night that the repatriation plan would be far more ‘bumpy’ than rescuing the 84,000 customers stranded when Monarch Airlines went bust almost two years ago.

    But Mr Raab promised none of the Thomas Cook customers currently on holiday would be left stranded. 

    A rescue plan, codenamed Operation Matterhorn by The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority, has worked on a contingency for weeks and readied as many as 40 jumbo jets. 

    But these efforts are already being hampered by the lack of available planes due to the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max aircraft following a crash in Ethiopia in March.

    Another problem is that Thomas Cook passengers are spread between 50 and 60 countries all over the world. 

    The CAA statement said: ‘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.

    ‘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. 

    ‘Customers currently overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website.

    ‘Thomas Cook customers in the UK yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the UK have been cancelled.’

    Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said it had launched ‘what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines’ in order to repatriate British holidaymakers. 

    Are you affected by Thomas Cook’s collapse?

    If you are stranded abroad and have a story to tell, we want to hear from you. Maybe you have concerns about how you will get home, or perhaps the holiday must go on and you are determined to make the most of it. Let us know – email tips@dailymail.com or lara.keay@mailonline.co.uk

    He 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, thomascook.caa.co.uk, for advice and information.’

    A notice posted at Manchester Airport just after midnight showed a Thomas Cook plane had been impounded ‘until airport charges have been paid’

    Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal yesterday and customers should not abandon their travel plans

    Where did it all go wrong for Thomas Cook?

    – Lenders

    The issue that tipped Thomas Cook over the edge all hinged on raising an extra £200 million.

    Bosses had been negotiating with its lenders and biggest shareholder for months, and managed to secure around £900 million in new funding, but more recently it became apparent that it needed another £200 million to meet all its costs.

    A separate lender is said to have been lined up, but they pulled out at the last minute. The other banks and lenders said they would only stump up the £900 million if the extra £200 million was secured.

    – Debt

    Thomas Cook’s problems with debt stretch back several years. The company first renegotiated its £1.7 billion debt pile in 2013, kicking the can down the road until 2020.

    However, by last summer it became clear that repayments were starting to put immense strain on the business – the company made all its money in the summer and needed enough to see it through the winter months.

    Auditors were starting to question why so much money was being put down as ‘one-off’ payments, forcing the board to change its accounting practices and the company started to try to sell off its airline. Meanwhile, a whole host of other factors hit the company and its rivals.

    – Changing with the times

    Current and former bosses have always claimed they knew Thomas Cook must adapt to an evolving holiday market.

    Traditional travel agents were too slow to take advantage of the internet, claiming customers still wanted the face-to-face experience of walking into a shop to book their holidays.

    Thomas Cook did reduce the number of stores it had, but by the end hundreds remained. All the while, rivals were eating into their market share, and the emergence of On The Beach really highlighted the problems further.

    – On The Beach

    Whilst Thomas Cook had 550 high street locations – with rents, rates and staff costs to consider – On The Beach was online only.

    The rival – and many other online services – did not own hotels or an airline, so did not have the added expense, unlike Thomas Cook.

    The new company was also able to forge good relationships with hotels, who would get paid far faster than those on Thomas Cook’s roster. To combat this, Thomas Cook placed its faith in opening or buying its own hotels – another high cost.

    – The Arab Spring

    Thomas Cook, and its rivals, suffered particularly hard in 2010 during the Arab Spring uprisings, as many of its most popular destinations started to look like no-go zones.

    Bookings to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt fell heavily and Thomas Cook took a large share of the slump.

    At the time, the company was also getting dragged into a criminal case around the deaths of two customers in Corfu from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Thomas Cook would end up being told by a coroner it ‘breached its duty of care’ and be heavily criticised for its reaction to the incident.

    – Brexit 

    Bosses of Thomas Cook repeatedly blamed the impact the uncertainty over Brexit was having on the business.

    Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said the uncertainty was causing a delay to bookings, and the original deadline of March 31 – right around Easter – led to travel agents issuing guidance of what will happen in a no-deal situation, in an attempt to reassure customers.

    The pound falling against the dollar and the euro also hit the business, especially since it paid hotels in euros and bought fuel for its planes in dollars. Most commentators agree it was a factor, but not the only one.

    – The 2018 Heatwave

    The high summer temperatures from last year also hit Thomas Cook, as the last-minute weekend getaway market collapsed.

    Potential customers preferred to stay in the UK (or in Scandinavia – another big market for Thomas Cook) to enjoy the warm weather, rather than jetting off for some summer sun.

    Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union that represents the transport and travel sectors, said it ‘made no sense’ for the Government not to bail out the company.

    Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the Union, which represents 3,000 Thomas Cook cabin crew and engineers, also accused the Government of leaving workers and customers ‘high and dry’.

    But Mr Raab said ministers did not step in to save flailing firms unless there was ‘a good strategic national interest’. He did promise that the Government would step in to repatriate every customer, including those not covered by the official Atol protection scheme for package holidays.

    Thomas Cook had previously said those who booked package holidays were fully protected by the industry’s Atol scheme – both now and for future trips.

    But about half of passengers currently abroad do not have this protection because they booked Thomas Cook flights only.

    After the collapse was announced, Dr Fankhauser said he and his team had worked ‘exhaustively’ to try and save the firm.

    ‘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,’ he said. 

    Jim Hatton began pursuing emergency steps to get critical medical supplies over fears he would be stuck in Menorca due to the collapse of Thomas Cook.

    The 61-year-old from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, suffered a ‘sleepless’ night over speculation of the closure, as he only had heart medication for a couple more days.

    The retired chartered engineer is now waiting among huge queues in the airport for his replacement flight to Glasgow.

    He told PA: ‘My wife and I have mobility problems and take a lot of meds for pain relief and other conditions. We made provision for a couple of days extra but if we had been delayed longer some vital heart medication I take for an arrhythmia would have run out.

    ‘We had plans to visit a doctor locally to try to get a prescription but we were told it would be OK.

    ‘Last night was sleepless, I was watching news feeds constantly. I think I fell asleep for an hour or so, but I was watching all the Thomas Cook aircraft heading for the UK on the FlightRadar app knowing that an announcement would only be made once most of the aircraft were home.

    ‘Thomas Cook staff are highly visible and helping with the repatriation process. One lovely lady said she has been working for Thomas Cook for 43 years. Now she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.’

    Karen McMinn said she had been left ‘stuck in a Travelodge’ after believing her Thomas Cook holiday would go ahead as planned.

    She had been due to fly out with her partner from Glasgow to Menorca, Spain on Monday morning before learning the company had collapsed.

    Now she is trying to organise a last-minute holiday somewhere else or face travelling home to Dumfries.

    The 43-year-old clerical officer told PA Media: ‘We were told to travel as usual then there was nobody at the airport, no information either – disgrace. We checked their website yesterday and they said everything was going as planned.

    ‘They should have told people what was really happening. I honestly don’t know what to say – we’re trying to find another holiday tomorrow or a way home.’

    Stephen Tarren and Joanne Deveraux-Ward from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire said they had paid more than £1,200 for new tickets to Cancun in Mexico.

    Airport chauffeur Mr Tarren, 51, said they had originally booked the holiday at Christmas and paid £1,400 each.

    Ms Deveraux-Ward, 49, added: ‘I think more could have been done to prepare people.

    ‘I’m really disappointed.’

    Garry McCallum had been due to depart from Dalaman in Turkey to his home in Glasgow on Monday evening.

    The 42-year-old had been on a short trip with his wife Eliza in Hisaronu when news emerged that Thomas Cook had collapsed and flights had been cancelled.

    He said he will just be ‘relieved to get home’ after managing to organise another flight, although he expects to get back to Scotland about nine hours later than planned.

    Mr McCallum told the PA news agency: ‘I was always checking the situation, but with no control over it what can you do?

    ‘If there had been no information released by the Civil Aviation Authority today then I would’ve definitely panicked.

    ‘My flight only takes off roughly 50 minutes later than the original Thomas Cook flight, but of course I need to go to Birmingham and then transferred from there.

    ‘There are a few incidents in the hotel at the moment with staff looking for remainders of accommodation costs to be settled.’

    He added: ‘Still, I’ll only relax fully when I’m on that plane.’ 

    End of an era: Thomas Cook’s 178 years of history 

    Thomas Cook is Britain’s oldest tour operator and viewed as the inventor of the modern package holiday.

    Named after its founder, a Victorian cabinet maker, the firm was 178 years old.

    Cook’s first trip, on July 5, 1841, involved chartering a train to take 500 Temperance supporters 12 miles from Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough.

    Victorian cabinet maker Thomas Cook (pictured) founded the holiday firm in 1841

    A pair of vintage advertising posters for Thomas Cook, offering holidays in Britain and abroad

    Cook, a supporter of the movement which campaigned against alcohol, charged travellers a shilling per head.

    His idea to run tours had come almost a month earlier when he was walking from his home in Market Harborough to Leicester for a Temperance meeting.

    Cook later recalled: ‘The thought suddenly flashed across my mind as to the practicability of employing the great powers of railways and locomotion for the furtherance of this social reform.’

    His early trips involved rail journeys in the Midlands for local temperance societies and Sunday schools.

    Thomas Cook’s World Ticket Office in Jerusalem, offering trips to Palestine 

    Commercial tours began in 1845, with a trip to Liverpool, and expanded to organising transport from Yorkshire and the Midlands to the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Crystal Palace.

    The visionary businessman went international in 1855, organising trips to Europe and then North America, along with the launch of a ‘circular note’ – a precursor to traveller’s cheques – which could be cashed for local currency.

    In Egypt, a fleet of steam ships were launched to take tourists along the Nile, and also used to convey British troops as part of attempts to break the siege of Khartoum, in Sudan, in 1884-85.

    An advertisement for ‘Cook’s Nile Service’, a cruise on the Express Steamer ‘MS Hatasoo’ run by Thomas Cook & Son Ltd, circa 1900

    After the deaths of Thomas and his son John Cook in the 1890s, business continued to boom when the firm was inherited by John’s sons Frank, Ernest and Bert.

    One new hit was winter sports holidays, plus tours by motor car and commercial air travel.

    The Cook family sold the firm to the Belgian owners of the Orient Express in 1928.

    During World War Two, the company was requisitioned by the British government, then sold jointly to the UK’s four main railway companies, before becoming part of nationalised British Railways.

    A poster from 1930 (left) offers a Thomas Cook steamer ride along the Nile while another advert from 1929 (right) promotes a winter sports trip to the Continent 

    A centenary event for ‘Cook’s first Swiss tour’ is held in London in 1963. The 178-year-old company is now at risk of going into administration 

    Thomas Cook was at the forefront of the post-war overseas holiday boom but still also provided breaks within the UK, including at a holiday camp in Prestatyn, North Wales.

    It returned to private ownership in 1972, initially purchased by Midland Bank, hotels group Trust House Forte and the AA, then becoming wholly owned by Midland.

    The chain rapidly expanded its high street travel agencies and bought up smaller rivals.

    Thomas Cook temporarily passed into German hands in the 1990s before merging with UK firm Carlson Leisure Group in 1999, then returning to German ownership in 2001. It was floated on the stock exchange in 2007. 

    Thomas Cook’s rivals including Jet 2 and TUI are accused of cashing in as holiday prices double within hours

    Rival travel firms have been accused of cashing in on the collapse of Thomas Cook after the price of package holidays surged overnight.

    Around 160,000 British citizens are stranded overseas and thousands of others face cancelled holidays after the high street travel agent went bust early this morning.

    But those looking to book breaks with rival firms say the prices have jumped massively in the last 24 hours. 

    Some reported that the cost of their package trip had almost doubled after Thomas Cook collapsed. 

    Holiday customers saw a huge surge in prices with rival firms after Thomas Cook’s collapse

    Customer Lara Anne Harper said a holiday to Greece she shortlisted on the Tui website jumped by £168 per person just during the time she was on the website.

    She tweeted: ‘Lost our holiday with Thomas Cook. Decided to see what we can get from @TUIUK instead and in the time it took me to run through a few holidays and shortlist 10, I open up the shortlist to find almost every holiday price has increased over the last 20 minutes.’

    A MailOnline reader said they were quoted £57 from Glasgow to Dalaman, Turkey with Jet2 last night, with the return flight at £260. Today, the flight our was £250 and the return is £413. 

    Lesley Gillis claimed her planned holiday had more than doubled in price from £600 to £1,700. 

    Lyndsay McDonald tweeted Jet2 saying: ‘We had flights on screen at £375 to replace our Thomas Cook ones, get to payment page and within seconds had gone up to £570 each. Making money from this misfortune #jet2 #thomascook’

    Olivia Howat tweeted: ‘Absolutely disgusting from @jet2tweets @Jet2Holiday within the space of an HOUR they’ve doubled the price of flights following the news of #ThomasCook collapsing. Yet another Typical greedy airline. #jet2’  

    Scores took to Twitter this afternoon to complain about soaring prices

    Simon Kenworthy reported that flights he was looking at the Cancun in Mexico had increased from £299 to £319 in 12 hours.

    A Jet2 spokesman said: ‘Our pricing, as is common practice in the travel industry, is based on the principle of supply and demand. 

    ‘As supply reduces, an inevitable consequence is that prices increase. However, we are looking at adding more supply (flights and seats) to help customers at this time.’  

    A spokesman for Tui insisted: ‘TUI uses a dynamic pricing model which means that our prices can go up or down. 

    ‘There are many variables which have to be taken in to account including peak dates of travel, regional airport differences and which channel our customers book through.’

    Tui could not field calls fast enough as worried Britons attempted to book holidays today

    Earlier today, the travel firm said they have been inundated with bookings and are struggling to field the high volume of calls.

    Shares in Tui soared to above £9.00 this morning – its best price since February – after Thomas Cook confirmed it had ceased operations, with the loss of around 21,000 jobs.

    Likewise, shares in Jet2 owner Dart Group jumped to £9.28, as investors assumed the competitors will pick up a large portion of Thomas Cook’s holiday traffic in the future.

    Furious customers demand Thomas Cook bosses pay back £20million in bonuses they reaped before company collapsed as government orders urgent probe into what went wrong

    Customers have demanded that Thomas Cook bosses handed millions of pounds in bonuses and salaries are forced to hand them back following the firm’s collapse.

    The British travel giant’s fat cat bosses were paid more than £20million in the last five years deep-rooted fears on an impeding collapse.

    This morning, Andrea Leadsom called for an immediate investigation into the actions of Thomas Cook’s senior bosses into how the firm came to be liquidated.

    The Business Secretary revealed she would write to the Insolvency Service asking for an ‘fast-tracked’ probe into directors such as chief executive Peter Fankhauser.

    It comes amid accusations that bosses failed to ‘future-proof’ a firm that ‘operated in brochures while the world had moved onto barcodes’.

    Senior executives at the holiday giant have been accused of mismanagement over several years, beginning in 2012 when a mass restructuring left it £1.6billion in debt.

    Thomas Cook returned to profitability in 2015, and its senior management reaped the rewards with large payouts that are likely to anger staff who are now out of a job. 

    Chief executive Peter Fankhauser (left), who has earned £8.3million since 2014, and former CEO Harriet Green (right), who received a £5.6million bonus in 2015

    The liquidation comes amid accusations that directors of the struggling icon failed to ‘future-proof’ a firm that ‘operated in brochures while the world had moved onto barcodes’

    Chief executive Peter Fankhauser has earned £8.3million since 2014, including a £2.9million bonus four years ago, the Daily Telegraph reported.

    Meanwhile, finance officers Bill Scott and Michael Healy have been paid £7million in the same timeframe, while chairman Frank Meysman has received £1.6million.

    Former chief executive Harriet Green was awarded a share bonus worth £5.6million in 2015, but a third was donated to charity.

    During her two-year tenure from 2012, the firm axed 2,500 jobs and closed 400 shops in order to save money on costs.

    Ms Green had succeeded former chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who resigned in 2012 after eight years at the helm.

    He had presided over a massive destruction in shareholder value since taking the reins after the merger with MyTravel.

    His resignation followed a disastrous year in which Thomas Cook issued a string of profits warnings.

    Mr Fontenla-Novoa also oversaw one of the most controversial episodes in the firm’s history, following the carbon monoxide deaths of two young children on holiday.

    Andrea Leadsom has called for an immediate probe into the actions of Thomas Cook’s senior bosses following the travel firm’s collapse this morning

    Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser is pictured this morning after Britain’s oldest holiday firm went under

    Christi Shepherd, seven, and her younger brother Bobby, six, were poisoned by a faulty boiler at a four-star hotel on the Greek island of Corfu in 2006.  

    It was not until 2015 that the firm finally bowed to public pressure and apologised, but irreparable damage had already been made to its reputation. 

    Over the past five years the company has blamed everything from terror attacks to the Arab Spring protests and Brexit for its failing fortunes.

    Last year it claimed England’s hottest ever summer had led to a surge in Britons ditching trips abroad for stay-cations, hitting the firm squarely in the pocket.

    The company saw the Arab Spring takes its toll on holiday bookings to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

    The deal meant the troubled firm had to sell 300 million holidays a year just to make its interest payments and break even. 

    The Department for Transport announced today that an impeding investigation would consider the conduct of Thomas Cook’s directors.

    Thomas Cook’s chairman Frank Meysman, left, and its (then-interim, since permanent) chief financial officer, Sten Daugaard

    Andrea Leadsom said: ‘This will be a hugely worrying time for employees of Thomas Cook, as well as their customers. Government will do all it can to support them.

    ‘I will be setting up a cross-government taskforce to monitor local impacts, will write to insurance companies to ask them to process claims quickly, and stand ready to provide assistance and advice.

    I will also be writing to the Insolvency Service to ask them to prioritise and fast-track their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Thomas Cook going into liquidation.’

    Industry insiders have claimed the firm was left behind by its rivals, with customers increasingly opting to package up their own holidays online without travel agents.

    Speaking on the BBC Today Programme, Dame Deirdre Hutton, the chair of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), criticised the company’s lack of foresight.

    She added: ‘Thomas Cook is operating on brochures whereas everyone else has moved on to barcodes.’

    The company was on the brink a month ago, however CEO Peter Fankhauser and CFO Sten Daugaard believed they had struck a deal to keep the firm afloat.

    On August 28, it released a statement explaining they had £900million coming in; half from a Chinese consortium and half from their British-based banks and lenders.

    They had also agreed that banks would convert most of the money the firm owed into equity in a restructured Thomas Cook.

    Subject to final sign-off from all parties concerned, that deal would have come to fruition next month. But last week, one of the lenders, RBS, got cold feet.

    The firm says the bank demanded an additional £200million ‘seasonal stability facility’ to cover the winter lull in business in the tourism industry.

    The company made money in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and credits its success to the new team brought in after the departures of previous bosses, chief exec Harriet Green in 2014 and group chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa in 2011.

    But the last two years have seen a constant stream of bad headlines in the financial pages.

    The travel company scrapped its dividend last year in an effort to retain cash and blamed a disappointing year on the prolonged summer heatwave across Europe, which meant people delayed their bookings, especially in the UK.

    Many travel firms also had to discount their packages heavily in the late booking market.

    However, investors also suspect the firm overbooked hotel room capacity, particularly in highly competitive Spanish destinations, forcing it to discount heavily as the market softened.

    Peter Fankhauser remained tight-lipped as he emerged from a day-long meeting negotiating with creditors yesterday

    Lines of grounded airplanes with the Thomas Cook livery are seen at Manchester Airport this morning as the company went bust

    In late 2018 analysts feared the firm was facing structural challenges – beyond the one-off problems caused by the unusually hot summer – that would require significant changes to operations, including the likelihood of further closures in its large branch network.

    During financial year 2017-18 the firm closed 100 stores it said were loss-making.

    It said it has no plans for more closures or job losses, but it intends to add more in-store foreign exchange staff to boost branch profitability.

    The concerns among investors were exacerbated when the firm gave a vague outlook for 2019 adding to fears over the impact of Brexit or another crisis in an important package holiday destination such as Turkey.

    The now-chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, and his new chief financial officer, Sten Daugaard, met with investors in December worried about the firm’s financial strength and strategy.

    Then this May shares in Thomas Cook plunged 30 per cent after analysts at a bank said the travel firm’s shares were ‘worthless’.

    How has Thomas Cook ended up in such a mess? Since 2007, the travel group’s share price history reveals a story of profit warnings, trouble at the top, store closures and terror attacks

    19 June 2007: Thomas Cook Group was formed by the merger of Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group.

    14 February 2008: Thomas Cook bought booking website Hotels4U.com for £21.8million. It marks the first of a series of acquisitions during that year that boosted the share price. 

    During 2008, Thomas Cook also snapped up luxury travel firm Elegant Resorts, Gold Medal International and Jet Tours. And it bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook brand in the Middle East and Asia.  

    August 2011: Chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa resigned after eight years at the helm. He presided over a massive destruction in shareholder value since taking the reins after the merger with MyTravel.

    The company saw the Arab Spring protests take their toll on holiday bookings to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco

    His resignation followed a disastrous year in which Thomas Cook issued a string of profits warnings. The company saw the Arab Spring takes its toll on holiday bookings to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

    In October 2011, Thomas Cook merged its UK high street travel and foreign exchange businesses with those of the Co-operative Group. 

    November 2011: Thomas Cook is forced to ask for a capital injection of £100million from its banks to keep it afloat. That is in addition to another £100million short-term credit line that Thomas Cook had agreed with its banks in October.

    The group is also forced to axe its dividend to repair its battered finances, having by then racked up debts of close to £1billion. 

    August 2012: Harriet Green becomes the new chief executive and announces a turnaround plan which will see the closure of over 200 High Street shops and some 2,500 redundancies over the next couple of years. 

    Her turnaround plan saw pre-tax losses shrink from £337million in 2012 to £158million in 2013. Green is pushed out in November 2014, causing shares to crash.   

    Summer 2016: Terror attacks across Europe, including in Brussels in March and at Instanbul’s airport in June, hit bookings. 

    Terror attacks: In 2016, terror attacks across Europe, including in Brussels in March and at Instanbul’s airport in June, hit bookings at Thomas Cook

    Thomas Cook also continued to suffer from holidays’ cancellations to Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh Trips after terrorists blew up a Russian airliner shortly after it took off from the airport at the Red Sea hot spot in October 2015.  

    September 2018: Thomas Cook shares begin a new decline. The company issued another profit warning, having already issued one in July. It blamed the hot weather in Europe for customers delaying holiday-booking decisions, with the UK market particularly slow. 

    28 August 2019: Thomas Cook agrees major rescue deal with China-based Fosun Tourism Group. It said they had £900million of new money coming in – half from a Chinese consortium and half from their British-based banks and lenders.

    Profit woes: In September 2018, Thomas Cook shares began a new decline. The company issued another profit warning, having already issued one in July

    They also agree that banks would convert most of the money the company already owed into equity in a restructured Thomas Cook – which should give the troubled firm some breathing room. 

    20 September 2019: Thomas Cook is told by lenders that it needs to find an additional £200million ‘seasonal stability facility’ to cover the winter lull in business in the tourism industry. That is on top of the £900million already agreed. 

    The company said it is in talks with stakeholders, including leading shareholder Chinese firm Fosun, to bridge the funding gap. But it said that if it does not find thew money, there was a ‘significant risk of no recovery’.

    If Thomas Cook does collapse, it would mean the closure of 550 high street stores, the loss of 22,000 jobs, 180,000 holidaymakers stranded overseas, the biggest peacetime repatriation in British history, and a £600million bill for the DfT who would be left picking up the pieces and flying tourists home.

    Thomas Cook’s own timeline of acquisitions and major events since it was formed in 2007 

    At the close of play on Friday, Thomas Cook’s share price was down 22.78 per cent or 1.02p to 3.45p.  

    ‘Never wanted to put my uniform on and go to work so much’: Stunned Thomas Cook staff arrive at the holiday firm’s Cambridgeshire HQ in tears for a liquidation meeting

    Thomas Cook staff were seen hugging each other in tears at the company’s headquarters this morning – after the travel giant collapsed overnight.   

    Hundreds of employees have been seen heading into the offices at Lynch Wood in Peterborough for a 10am meeting about the compulsory liquidation, which happened this morning after a weekend of talks to save the company.

    Many looked tearful as they arrived at the headquarters, which employs around 1,000 people.

    Others spoke of how ‘heartbroken’ they were at the firm’s collapse, with many writing on Twitter about their years of service for the travel giant.         

    Many employees looked tearful as they arrived at the Thomas Cook headquarters at Lynch Wood in Peterborough this morning. The company’s headquarters employs around 1,000 people

    Thomas Cook staff were seen hugging each other in tears at the company’s headquarters this morning (pictured) – after the travel giant collapsed overnight

    Thomas Cook employed around 9,000 people in the UK and had around 600 high street stores (pictured, staff arriving at its headquarters this morning)

    Employees poke of how ‘heartbroken’ they were at the firm’s collapse, with many writing on Twitter about their years of service for the travel giant (above and below)

    Another employee said she would be ‘gutted’ if the firm collapsed and shared a number of pictures from her time working for the company

    Family and friends of those affected have also been writing on social media about the effect of the collapse. One user said he was ‘so proud’ of his girlfriend for her hard work over the years

    One employee said this morning: ‘Two years with my Thomas Cook family. Absolutely no words to describe how this feels. 

    ‘Never wanted to put my uniform on and go to work so much on a Monday morning’. 

    A relative of another employee said: ‘My girlfriend was a flight attendant with Thomas Cook, she has worked her a*** off doing flights at ungodly hours, [only] to lose her job and wage over night, as have many others.

    ‘I’m proud of her! My heart goes out to all of you left unemployed. Good luck’. 

    Others spoke of their fear’s the firm would collapse last night, with another employee writing on Twitter: ‘I love my job and would be terribly sad if I couldn’t do it anymore’. 

    And another relative said: ‘So off the wife has popped to work! Looking as gorgeous and pristine as ever. 

    ‘Not having a clue if she’ll even still have a job by the time she lands in Turkey. So proud she’s my wife’. 

    While employee Stacy Wood said: ‘This has been the longest day ever but I’m praying we wake up to good news. Can’t imagine not donning that uniform again’. 

    Staff arriving at Thomas Cook headquarters in Peterborough this morning after the company went into administration

    One staff member looked disheartened as she arrived at the Thomas Cook headquarters in Peterborough this morning

    Employees spoke of their heartbreak after losing their jobs at Thomas Cook, with one saying: ‘Never wanted to put my uniform on and go to work so much on a Monday morning’

    Another employee wrote: ‘Didn’t think I’d have to be writing this but never been so upset’

    Other Thomas Cook staff spoke of how ‘proud’ they were to have worked at the travel firm

    Relatives of those employed by the travel firm also took to Twitter to share their sadness at the firm’s collapse

    Others spoke of their fear the firm would collapse last night, with another employee writing on Twitter: ‘I love my job and would be terribly sad if I couldn’t do it anymore’ (above and below)

    Another, writing on Twitter, said: ‘To say I’m heartbroken is an understatement. Landed from Antalya to see every Thomas Cook aircraft next to each other knowing it was the end of the best four years. 

    ‘Thanks to all the lovely passengers, Thomas Cook you’ve been my dream.’ 

    Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 and was one of the world’s oldest travel companies. It employed around 9,000 people in the UK and had around 600 high street stores. 

    A £100million taxpayer-funded fleet of 40 or more jets are today already heading to Europe, America and Asia to start bringing 160,000 Britons home from more than 50 destinations over the coming fortnight.

    Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation effort, codenamed Operation Matterhorn, will see around 16,000 people flown back to UK airports every day.

    Holidaymakers stuck in resorts around the world are today waiting for news about how and when they will get home.

    Thomas Cook check-in desks at the 20-plus UK airports the business flew from are shut today with all customers with holidays and flights told they are cancelled – but many will not get their money back for months. 600 high street store are also locked up today.

    Last-minute talks to try and rescue the ailing firm collapsed last night with nobody willing to service its £1.7billion debt, and the Civil Aviation Authority announced the end for the 178-year-old company in the early hours of this morning.

    Another, writing on Twitter, said: ‘To say I’m heartbroken is an understatement. Landed from Antalya to see every Thomas Cook aircraft next to each other knowing it was the end of the best four years. Thanks to all the lovely passengers, #thomascook you’ve been my dream’

    Another employee, Courtenay Burnett, wrote: ‘Praying for good news for my Thomas Cook family’

    Others spoke of their joy at wearing the uniform, with Stacy Wood writing on Twitter: ‘This has been the longest day ever but I’m praying we wake up to good news’

    Boris Johnson today said that the Government had been asked to bail-out the business with £150million of taxpayers’ money but they had refused.

    He said: ‘Clearly that’s a lot of taxpayers’ money and sets up, as people will appreciate, a moral hazard in the case of future such commercial difficulties that companies face.’  

    Charter company Titan Airways, based at Stansted, are understood to carrying out a large number of the repatriation flights while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Tui, Jet2 and Malaysia Airlines also approached to step in.

    Because the Civil Aviation Authority knew Thomas Cook’s collapse was likely planes are either on their way to – or already at destinations in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.  

    A number of support schemes have also been set up to help Thomas Cook employees. 

    Couple’s £50,000 dream wedding in Ayia Napa and newlyweds’ £7,000 ‘paradise’ honeymoon in Maldives are among tens of thousands of holiday plans set to be ruined by collapse of travel firm Thomas Cook

    Thousands of holidaymakers have been left devastated after plans including expensive weddings and dream trips were dashed after Thomas Cook went into liquidation this morning.

    The company’s final flight landed in Britain after the travel group collapsed leaving more than 160,000 Britons stranded abroad and a million more customers with cancelled holidays.

    Peter Whyman and his fiancée Katy Williams fear their £50,000 wedding in Ayia Napa could be ruined as her terminally ill mother might not be able to fly out for their big day.

    They are due to marry on October 2 but the wedding party’s flight to Cyprus and their hotel rooms are now at risk.

    The bride’s terminally ill mother Carol Milne, 63, may have to miss out on the whole ceremony.

    Peter Whyman and his fiancée Katy Williams fear their £50,000 wedding in Ayia Napa could be ruined

    Ms Williams told Teesside Live: ‘I’m not sleeping. It’s horrible. I’m just numb.

    ‘My head is in the clouds. It’s the not knowing and the fact we can’t do anything about it.’

    Offshore rigger Mr Whyman, said: ‘I have been working every bit of over time I could do for the last 18 months so my fiancé has a dream wedding.

    ‘We have phoned our travel agents and they didn’t know what is happening. We have phoned the hotel direct to try find out if the hotel has been paid for in case we just need to book different flights – but still no info.

    ‘We have been told that if Thomas Cook do go under we will lose everything.’

    The couple cannot even bring themselves to tell their excited children Sienna Whyman, 9, Mia Whyman, 8, and Owen Chaney, 7, that the wedding is in jeopardy.

    The couple cannot even bring themselves to tell their excited children Sienna Whyman (left), 9, and Mia Whyman (right), 8

    Owen Chaney, 7, is unaware his parents’ dream wedding in Ayia Napa is in jeopardy if Thomas Cook goes bust

    Mr Whyman said: ‘I’m not telling them. I don’t know how to break it to them. It’s heartbreaking for them.

    ‘It’s just a waiting game now and we just hope Thomas Cook find the money.’

    The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced this morning that the company had ‘ceased trading with immediate effect’ after last-minute talks to save it broke down.

    More than 150,000 British holidaymakers who are abroad will have to be repatriated back to the UK and the CAA and the government has announced it will aim to get them home by October 6.

    A number of support schemes have also been set up to help Thomas Cook employees.

    Its final flight – an Airbus A330 from Orlando – touched down at Manchester Airport at 9am bringing down the curtain on the company’s 178 year history.

    The last Thomas Cook flight into the UK lands at Manchester airport after taking off from Orlando overnight 

    It has collapsed with the loss of more than 21,000 jobs worldwide including 1,000 in Peterborough – some of whom were seen crying as they went to work this morning.

    Katherine Mann, 31, a finance worker from Hertfordshire, is trapped in Menorca airport with her partner, civil servant Daniel Hill and their eight-month-old daughter Penelope after a week-long holiday.

    Katherine Mann, 31, a finance worker from Hertfordshire, is trapped in Menorca airport with her partner, civil servant Daniel Hill and their eight-month-old daughter

    Their return flight to London was supposed to leave at 11.30am, but a tannoy announcement has told them to ignore official departure times completely.

    ‘This was our first holiday together as a family,’ she told MailOnline, ‘and over the last few days we were constantly anxious due to the lack of information.

    ‘Everyone at our resort was whispering in corners, nobody knew what was going on. There was no Thomas Cook representative and no information. It was just Chinese whispers.’

    She arrived at the airport this morning to find ‘scenes of absolute chaos’.

    ‘All the check-ins for Thomas Cook are shut so there’s a huge backlog of people,’ she said. ‘We’ve already been queuing for an hour.

    ‘The only information we had was an announcement over the tannoy that we should ignore departure times. None of the earlier flights departed and there is talk of coaches between Birmingham and Manchester.’

    A representative of the British Government wearing a hi-viz jacket with a Union flag on the back ticked off passenger names against the flight manifest, she said, but was unable to provide any information.

    The couple’s return flight to London was supposed to leave at 11.30am, but a tannoy announcement has told them to ignore official departure times completely

    The only food outlet in the immediate vicinity is a vending machine, she added, raising fears that she will be unable to feed her baby.

    ‘My daughter is OK for now but we only have a few bits of food and milk to last a short amount of time,’ she said. ‘It’s warm but not unbearable, though it might become so later on.

    ‘No food or water has been provided. Nobody has fainted yet but I think that is inevitable.’

    She added: ‘It is a shame that Thomas Cook has ceased trading but I feel this could have been managed better.’

    The only food outlet in the immediate vicinity is a vending machine, she added, raising fears that she will be unable to feed her baby. Pictured at the airport

    Also affected were a host of future holidaymakers back in the UK who were awaiting trips they had booked with Thomas Cook.

    This included Lewis and Amy Bromiley from Manchester, who were looking forward to their honeymoon in the Maldives after getting married in August.

    Mr Bromiley, a 25-year-old insurance worker from Manchester, said: ‘We’ve got our honeymoon package booked which was the last one available in January, and now it’s cancelled.

    ‘It appears we won’t be able to go to the same place now, and will have to wait a while to get our £7,000 refunded.

    ‘We’ll have to wait for the refund which could takes months, due to the amount of people claiming.

    Also affected were a host of future holidaymakers back in the UK who were awaiting trips they had booked with Thomas Cook – including Lewis and Amy Bromiley from Manchester, who were looking forward to their honeymoon after getting married in August (pictured)

    ‘We won’t be able to rebook now, we’ll have to change destination as this was the last availability.

    ‘We booked it over a year ago, so we were well prepared and had got the best deal.

    ‘Me and my wife are devastated.

    ‘We wanted to go to Maldives as it’s paradise and we’re looking to plan for children soon, so we wanted to tick it off out bucket list, before we couldn’t.’

    Mr Bromiley criticised the way the situation had been handled.

    He said: ‘It was poorly communicated, and their closing statement is poor also.

    ‘They should still manage the Twitter account for the next 48 hours, to give people the peace of mind they deserve.’

    A £100million taxpayer-funded fleet of 40 or more jets are today heading to Europe, the US and Asia to start bringing 160,000 Britons home from more than 50 destinations over the coming fortnight.

    The first rescue jet has now left New York’s JFK airport headed for Manchester with over 300 passengers on board and will arrive at 5pm today.

    Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation effort, codenamed Operation Matterhorn, will see around 16,000 people flown back to UK airports every day.

    Stephen Tarren and Joanne Deveraux-Ward from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire were another couple stranded on UK shores.

    But they paid more than £1,200 for new tickets to Cancun in Mexico.

    Stephen Tarren and Joanne Deveraux-Ward (pictured together) from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire said they had paid more than £1,200 for new tickets to Cancun in Mexico

    Airport chauffeur Mr Tarren, 51, said they had originally booked the holiday at Christmas and paid £1,400 each.

    Ms Deveraux-Ward, 49, added: ‘I think more could have been done to prepare people.

    ‘I’m really disappointed.’

    Thomas Cook’s check-in at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal was deserted this morning.

    A message on screens at the check-in read: ‘Thomas Cook has ceased trading and all flights are cancelled.

    ‘Visit thomascook.caa.co.uk or call 0300 303 2800.’

    Thomas Cook check in desks at Gatwick Airport are closed today after the travel firm collapsed in the early hours today

    Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queuing for flights without knowing how they might return

    A group of five people in Foreign and Commonwealth Office hi-vis jackets are at the check-in entrance to give help to passengers.

    A few passengers arrived at the airport.

    Despite the unease, many tourists spoken to by the Daily Mail abroad on Sunday vowed to continue enjoying their holiday.

    Jacqui and Steve Butler from Stoke-on-Trent arrived in Ibiza yesterday morning.

    The couple left their children, aged 24 and 22, back in England. Postman Mr Butler, 47, joked: ‘I’ve told the kids if we are not back by December then they can get worried.’

    Jacqui and Steve Butler (pictured) from Stoke-on-Trent arrived in Ibiza Sunday morning. The couple left their children, aged 24 and 22, back in England. Postman Mr Butler, 47, joked: ‘I’ve told the kids if we are not back by December then they can get worried’

    Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72, said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems.

    ‘I wanted to cancel because I was frightened thinking I wouldn’t be able to get back to England or the holiday would be ruined.

    ‘But they told me to just act like normal. It seemed strange after I had read they might ground flights. I am worried about not getting home. The travel agent said don’t take any notice of it. They told us to carry on as normal.’

    Because the company is covered by Atol protection, package holiday tourists already abroad have been assured that plans will be put in place to bring them home.

    Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72 (pictured with her husband Dennis), said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems

    Barbara Soar, 70, from Barnsley, also bemoaned the operator’s lack of communication with affected passengers.

    ‘We have not seen a Thomas Cook rep, not even once,’ she said. ‘We haven’t got a clue what’s going on. We don’t know what’s happening. We would expect them to be helping us but I imagine they’ve jumped on the plane and gone home themselves.

    ‘It’s a real shame about Thomas Cook. The very first holiday I had in 1973 was a package with Thomas Cook – it’s a shame as they have been going so long.’

    Despite fears over return trips to Britain, the overwhelming feeling on the party island was to continue enjoying the sun, sea and sangria until the last possible moment.

    Nursery assistant Georgina Humphries and four friends arrived in Ibiza from their homes in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday for a three-day trip. 

    The 21-year-old said: ‘We are not too fussed. I’m sure we’ll get back, one way or another. I don’t mind if I stay – if I’ve got to stay, it’s happy days really!

    ‘We were reading about it before we travelled but it didn’t put us off. We aren’t going to let it spoil our holiday.’

    Nicole from Swansea, who did not wish to give her surname, said she was ‘absolutely devastated’ at the closure of the firm she had booked with, which came before her ‘very first holiday’.

    ‘And now we have the stress of trying to fix this and sort it all out,’ she added.

    ‘I am truly gutted, but also devastated for the people who are stranded on their holidays and for the employees who have lost their jobs with no warning, and this close to Christmas.

    ‘It’s such a shame.’

    Jane and Richard Dawson, who tied the knot on Friday, stayed at a hotel at Gatwick Airport overnight in preparation for their 10-hour flight.

    Jane and Richard Dawson, who tied the knot on Friday, stayed at a hotel at Gatwick Airport (pictured) overnight in preparation for their 10-hour flight

    But the newlyweds, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, where the world’s oldest travel operator was based, woke up to find that their flight to Jamaica had been cancelled along with hundreds of others.

    The couple, who were due to fly at 11.45am today, were told to go home by airport staff.

    Mrs Dawson said: ‘We’ve been told to go home. I know it’s no one’s fault, but it’s just very sad.’

    Mr Dawson said: ‘Because we booked through Thomas Cook, we were told the reservation wouldn’t be honoured.

    Mrs Dawson said: ‘We’ve been told to go home. I know it’s no one’s fault, but it’s just very sad.’ Pictured: A file photo of a Thomas Cook plane at Gatwick

    ‘So, yeah, we’re spending our honeymoon at home.

    ‘We’ll try and see if we can get away for the rest of the week tomorrow, but right now we’re going home.’

    But even though the devastating news has hit them at the worst time, they are still determined to start married life happy.

    Mrs Dawson said: ‘Our wedding day was beautiful. It was a really wonderful day. Today can’t change that.’

    Another couple were set to go on their first long-haul flight together.

    Lucy and Michelle, from London, had been struggling to get another flight for three hours before giving up.

    The jetsetters found out the news about Thomas Cook while in a taxi to Gatwick.

    Lucy and Michelle, from London, had been struggling to get another flight for three hours before giving up. The jetsetters found out the news about Thomas Cook while in a taxi to Gatwick (pictured) 

    Lucy said: ‘We were on our way to Mexico for a week.

    ‘We’ve been here since 6.15am just trying to sort something out.

    ‘We were told that as we booked through Thomas Cook and staying at a Thomas Cook hotel, there’s no chance we’d be able to fly today.

    ‘I hoped that maybe we’d be able to book something hot last minute. We don’t want to go to Europe as it’s not what we wanted. Everything else is just too expensive.

    ‘I wish we had booked it for two days ago. Even if we were stranded somewhere, at least we’d be on holiday.’

    The couple decided to go home and try again tomorrow, hoping to use the rest of the time booked off work on holiday somewhere warm.

    Lucy added: ‘We’re just pi**** off.’ 

    Lucy Jessop from Hull has been holidaying in Mexico for two weeks and said she had been set to fly to Manchester with Thomas Cook on Tuesday.

    Lucy Jessop from Hull has been holidaying in Mexico for two weeks and said she had been set to fly to Manchester (pictured, the airport today) with Thomas Cook on Tuesday

    She said she was ‘initially worried’ after hearing about the company’s closure but the Government had been ‘amazing’ in organising an alternative flight.

    Ms Jessop said: ‘It’s the employees of Thomas Cook and all those due to go on holiday I feel for.

    ‘We were the lucky ones, I suppose.’

    Ms Jessop said she was ‘initially worried’ after hearing about the company’s closure but the Government had been ‘amazing’ in organising an alternative flight to Manchester (pictured today)

    One of those considering herself unlucky was an 18-year-old English woman whose single mother worked for Thomas Cook for almost 20 years.

    The teenager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said her mother had ‘known her job was vulnerable for the past few days but only found out she is unemployed when the news came out that Thomas Cook is over’.

    She added that she was the eldest of three daughters, the youngest of whom is 10 years old, and the now the only person in her home with a job.

    ‘I have a part-time job with around 15 hours a week so the next few months will be a huge struggle for us.

    ‘Especially since it’s Christmas soon.’

    About 50,000 tourists are stranded in Greece, mainly on islands, after Thomas Cook’s collapse, a Greek tourism ministry official said.

    About 50,000 tourists are stranded in Greece, mainly on islands (pictured, Heraklion airport on Crete), after Thomas Cook’s collapse, a Greek tourism ministry official said

    The tourists, mainly British, were vacationing on the islands of Zakynthos, Kos, Corfu, Skiathos and Crete, the official said.

    ‘The top priority now is to get them back home,’ the official said, declining to be named.

    The head of Greece’s hotel federation said Thomas Cook’s financial collapse would be a significant blow for hoteliers, since many vacation packages were not prepaid.

    ‘The situation is quite difficult. It does not affect just British tourists but other nationalities as well,’ Grigoris Tassios told state TV ERT.

    The head of Greece’s (pictured, Crete) hotel federation said Thomas Cook’s financial collapse would be a significant blow for hoteliers, since many vacation packages were not prepaid

    He said many hotels were expected to make losses on payments affecting vacation packages for the last two months, meaning ‘many millions of euros.’

    ‘Up to October 15 there are high occupancies, so we will suffer losses from this segment, too,’ Tassios said.

    He said hotel companies would turn to the courts to try and recover money owed by Thomas Cook.

    The company’s collapse could be a blow to tourism in its biggest destinations, including Greece, leaving fuel suppliers out of pocket and forcing hundreds of travel agents to shut down across British high streets

    But the Greek tourism confederation SETE said the industry has the depth and quality to overcome the hit. It called on the government to come up with specific measures to help companies absorb the problems that will arise.

    Greece has been experiencing an upsurge in tourism in the last years with a record number of 33 million visitors last year. Tourism accounts for about a quarter of economic output.

    In Tunisia, a group of 30 Britons were told to hand over thousands of pounds on Saturday, despite having already paid Thomas Cook for their hotel stay.

    This picture taken by a British holidaymaker shows the locked gates of a Tunisian hotel where staff are allegedly keeping guests shut in until they are paid 

    Guests are said to be locked in the Tunisian beach resort where staff are demanding money as they fear Thomas Cook will not pay its bills 

    Guards were stationed at the locked gates of Les Orangers, in the resort town of Hammamet, as staff insisted the customers needed to pay again in order to leave.

    Sophie Rees, 24, from Swansea, said: ‘We did not pay them. We already had paid Thomas Cook and it sounded a little bit dodgy. However a woman, who I would say was in her late 80s or early 90s, paid £2,500.’

    Thomas Cook staff were seen hugging each other in tears at its headquarters in Cambridgeshire today following news of its collapse.

    Hundreds of employees were seen heading into the offices at Lynch Wood in Peterborough for a 10am meeting about the compulsory liquidation, which happened this morning after a weekend of talks to save the company.

    Thomas Cook staff were seen hugging each other in tears at its headquarters in Cambridgeshire following news of its collapse

    Many looked tearful as they arrived at the headquarters, which employs around 1,000 people

    Many looked tearful as they arrived at the headquarters, which employs around 1,000 people.

    Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 and was one of the world’s oldest travel companies.

    It employed around 9,000 people in the UK and had around 600 high street stores.

    Thomas Cook Q&A: Why has it gone bust and how can I get help if I’m stuck abroad? 

    What has gone wrong?

    Thomas Cook became saddled with a £1.6 billion debt following years of mismanagement and over-expansion. It announced a £900 million rescue deal in July, led by its biggest shareholder, Chinese conglomerate Fosun, and other backers.

    Early this morning it was announced that the company had gone bust.  

    Why did it collapse?

    The firm’s lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, had said the company needed a £200 million loan to tide it over. The banks’ patience ran thin, given that they had already given Thomas Cook a £675 million overdraft.

    Thomas Cook became saddled with a £1.6 billion debt following years of mismanagement and over-expansion. Pictured are Thomas Cook passengers checking in at Glasgow Airport yesterday

    What happens next?

    Administrators will be called in. It is a criminal offence to continue trading when insolvent. 

    What if I am already abroad with Thomas Cook?

    Those who have booked a package holiday should be protected by the Atol scheme. This means they will be entitled to continue their holiday and fly home with another airline.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday promised that none of Thomas Cook’s estimated 165,000 customers will be left stranded abroad, paving the way for Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation. 

    Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow on Friday were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

    It remains unclear how much this would cost, with estimates ranging from £100 million to £600 million. Many holiday-makers could be forced to wait for up to two weeks before returning.

    What about future bookings?

    If customers have Atol protection, they are entitled to a refund or alternative holiday. Those who booked flights only can claim a refund if they used a credit card and it cost more than £100. 

    Thomas Cook CEO remains tight-lipped and avoids questions after he leaves day-long meeting with creditors that failed to save the travel firm 

    Thomas Cook Group’s chief executive remained tight-lipped as he emerged from a day-long meeting today after negotiating with creditors in a doomed bid to save the firm.

    Dr Peter Fankhauser, 58, would not comment on whether a deal had been reached or if the firm would consider approaching the Government for a taxpayer-funded bailout.

    He also refused to say anything to Thomas Cook’s customers as he walked out of the service exit of City law firm Latham & Watkins, in Bishopsgate, central London, surrounded by colleagues. 

    In the early hours of this morning it emerged talks had failed and the firm had gone bust.  

    Thomas Cook’s CEO was silent as he left a crisis meeting today where he pleaded for a £200million bailout

    His meeting with creditors ran from 9.00am to 5.30pm today and the Swiss businessman did not reveal the company’s course of action.

    The location of the meeting was changed last minute after it was leaked last night it would take place at law firm Slaughter and May. 

    Today the agency was forced to refund British tourists who said they were ‘held hostage’ and forced to hand over money to Tunisian hotel staff who feared the ailing travel firm would not pay its bills. 

    Security guards at the Les Orangers beach resort near Tunis kept the gates locked shut last night while staff demanded money, guests said. 

    Many holidaymakers refused to pay, as they had already given their money to Thomas Cook for the holiday, leading to a stand-off.  

    Thomas Cook said it had refunded customers who paid by credit card and said guests who had booked at the Les Orangers would be diverted elsewhere. 

    Dr Peter Fankhauser would not comment on whether a deal had been reached

    His meeting with creditors ran from 9.00am to 5.30pm today and the Swiss businessman has not revealed the company’s course of action

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