Over 1.5 lakh holidaymakers were stranded on Monday after 178-year-old British tour operator Thomas Cook UK went bust and announced to cease trading with immediate effect, prompting the largest peacetime repatriation effort in the history of Britain. All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have been cancelled.
"Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect. All Thomas Cook bookings, inlcuding flights and holidays, have now been cancelled," the travel ageny put out a statment on its Twitter handle that will also not be monitored.
Thomas Cook, which started operations in 1841 by running local rail excursions went on to become the pioneer tour operator in the world. The liquidation marks the demise of the end of the British firm's 178-year-old legacy.
The announcement to shut the firm was made early on Monday morning after the company failed to secure a deal with its creditors and British government also refused any bailout package. Following the announcement, hotels have asked Thomas Cook's cutomers to pay their bills again.
In the largest peacetime repatriation effort, the British government has strated "Operation Matterhorn" and sent 45 airfract to bring the stranded customers back home from locations including Central America and Turkey. It will fly 64 routes on Monday in an undertaking called Operation Matterhorn.
At the time of the announcement of liquidition, Thomas Cook has around 600,000 people abroad and will need government's help to bring them back from places as far afield as Cuba, Cyprus and Malaysia.
The liquidition of Thomas Cook has also left the company’s over 21,000 workers in limbo. Raising the issue, First Minister Of Scottland Nicola Sturgeon extended her support to the employees and their family members who will lose their job.
"Inevitable that much of the focus today will be on those who have had flights cancelled, but the Thomas Cook collapse is devastating for the company’s many workers. My thoughts are very much with them and their families," Sturgeon said.
Thomas Cook India Unaffected, Considering Buying The Brand For Three Markets
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook India has said that the firm has not at all been impacted by the liquidition of Thomas Cook UK as the company is a completely different entity from collapsed British tour operatior. It was was acquired by a canadian firm Fairfax Financial Holdings (Fairfax) in August 2012.
Thomas Cook India Chairman and Managing Director Madhavan Menon said that there will be no change in the fee agreement for using the brand name. Menon also said that he will not buy the brand globally but just for the three markets - India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.Thomas Cook India pays Rs 2 crore per year to use the brand name.