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Thomas Cook has finally come down to Earth after a 178-year run as Britain's oldest travel agency. Thousands of passengers are stranded after Thomas Cook announced "it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect."

Thomas Cook grounded
© Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com

Due to the sheer size of the situation, "some disruption is inevitable", and added that the Civil Aviation Authority "will endeavor to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates." Thomas Cook UK confirmed that all flights would be cancelled from British airports on 23 and 24 September 2019, whilst flights operated by Thomas Cook Germany "are not guaranteed" on those dates. This collapse has many reasons, with uncertainties about Brexit to competition all the way to low-cost carriers and the rise of online travel purchasing playing large roles in the collapse of Britain's oldest travel player.

All Apologies

The company's CEO, Peter Fankhauser apologised on Monday, sharing the information that every attempt had been made to avoid liquidation. The travel operator had been in search of €226 million from investors to save it from going under.

Dw.com reported Fankhauser as saying: "We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook's future. Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable. It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful. I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners."

Repatriation Of The Stranded

Some 600,000 people (140,000 Germans and 150,000 Britons) were on holiday as Thomas Cook collapsed, and these travelers need to be returned home. As their passenger jets landed on Monday, they were immediately grounded as collateral for Thomas Cook's inability to pay for the airport taxes and fees.  The UK government have planned to bring Britons home using other airlines. This proves to be the country's biggest repatriation since WWII.

Germany is one of Thomas Cook's largest markets, and has insurance companies getting people back where they need to be. Other German tour operator subsidiaries under Thomas Cook include brands such as Neckermann Reisen, Bucher Last Minute, Öger Tours, Air Marin and Thomas Cook Signature. According to their statements, travel sales have also ceased for the time being.

No Bailout From Boris

British PM, Boris Johnson says the UK government is not bailing Thomas Cook out, because it would just lead to other companies expecting a bailout in future. 

"We need to look at ways in which tour operators one way or another can protect themselves from such bankruptcies in future. One is driven to reflect on whether the directors of these companies are properly incentivised to sort such matters out."

While the UK government rejected Thomas Cook's request for a bailout of about £150 million, ($187 million/€169 million), Johnson said the UK government would make sure stranded British holidaymakers would receive help getting home.