Travel specialist Thomas Cook has gone into bankruptcy protection and all Thomas Cook flights are now cancelled. To reiterate, all Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled. There are currently more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad, almost twice the number that were repatriated following the failure of Monarch.
UK Civil Aviation Authority is organizing a flying program to bring home Thomas Cook customers. The CAA says it will be the largest ever peacetime repatriation to bring home those 150,000 otherwise stranded vacationers. The CAA is instructing customers who are currently overseas to go to thomascook.caa.co.uk for advice and only go to the airport once they have an alternative flight confirmed. They have also set up a 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330 330 from overseas.
The company had a 178-year history of operation. A CAA statement said, “Ceasing trading will be very distressing for its customers and employees and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.”
The Government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, from Monday 23 September to Sunday 6 October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK. Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority is securign a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights.
The CAA says it will do its best “to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates.” Those with reservations who have yet to begin their travel are advised not to go to the airport. “The Civil Aviation Authority will be launching a service to manage all refunds by Monday, 30 September, once the flying operation has progressed. This refunds service will seek to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received,” the CAA statement says.
“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,”
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said. “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.”