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Thomas Cook collapses as last ditch rescue fails

The UK’s oldest tour operator, Thomas Cook UK PLC, has collapsed tonight leaving thousands of holidaymakers abroad and up to 9,000 people in he UK without jobs.

The group had been seeking a last minute rescue deal which included asking the government for help raising the £200m it needed to stave off collapse but after an emergency meeting with creditors this afternoon it became clear Thomas Cook had failed in that process.

In a statement on its website it said “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.”

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will now step in to repatriate holidaymakers under the ATOL scheme, an insurance scheme paid for by a levy on tour operators sales.

A Smartlynx Airbus operating for Thomas Cook at Cardiff Airport

A number of aircraft including a Malaysian Airlines A380 and Eastern Boeing 767’s have been in the UK and Ireland and on standby since Sunday and will now operate a series of flights along with others expected to arrive in the next few days to bring British holidaymakers home.

Launched in 1841 Thomas Cook has taken millions of people on affordable package holidays but its expansion in recent years combined with external factors such as rising fuel costs have seen it make ever increasing losses.

It had created a rescue package with one of its shareholders but the main creditor banks RBS and Lloyds demanded a further £200m to sure up the company and reduce their risk. It seems to be that that has pushed it over the cliff edge.

Thomas Cook employed around 9,000 people in the UK across its tour operator business and airline, Thomas Cook Airlines UK,

In addition it owned Condor, a German airline and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. but they are expected to continue operating.

Thomas Cook aircraft are being detained by airports in the UK as they land, a common procedure by airports as it gives them a bargaining chip with the receivers to ensure they are paid what is owed.

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