Thomas Cook Group plc, a major UK-based travel company, has filed for insolvency and ceased trading, cancelling all flights on Thomas Cook Airlines, as well as all currently booked vacation packages. All of Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.
In a statement announcing the decision Thomas Cook said that the UK government and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are working to return passengers traveling abroad from the UK with Thomas Cook between September 23 and October 6 using either CAA-operated flights or on existing flights with other airlines. These repatriation flights will only operate for the next two weeks, after which customers who are still traveling will have to make their own arrangements to return home, the company said.
The CAA reports that its first repatriation flight left New York City’s JFK Airport at approximately 5 a.m. local time Monday morning bound for Manchester with over 300 passengers onboard. It is estimated to arrive at 5 p.m. today.
Travelers who are booked on a Thomas Cook flight out of the UK are advised not to go to the airport, as their flight will not be operating. The CAA’s repatriation program will not include any outbound flights from the UK. Additionally, customers should be aware that, if they choose to book a new flight with another airline out of the UK, they will not be eligible for a repatriation flight.
Condor, a German leisure airline that is also owned by Thomas Cook Group plc, says that it will continue its flight operations despite its parent company’s filing for insolvency. Condor will continue to operate as a German company and, in order to prevent liquidity constraints, it has applied for a state-guaranteed bridging loan, which is currently under review by Germany’s federal government.
Customers affected by Thomas Cook cancellations are advised to visit thomascook.caa.co.uk for additional information.