Tour Company Thomas Cook has confirmed that ‘despite considerable efforts’, it will enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect. The company’s four airlines will be grounded, and its 21,000 employees in 16 countries, including 9,000 in the UK, will lose their jobs.
UK Civil Aviation Authority policy director Tim Johnson told CNN that authorities are working "around the clock" to bring stranded passengers home to Britain.
"First and foremost, this is a sad day for Thomas Cook, its employees and its customers. It's a business that has been going for 178 years, so a very sad day and our thoughts are very much with them," said Johnson.
In May, the company reported a 1.25 billion pound debt, saying that political uncertainty related to Britain's scheduled departure from the European Union at the end of October had caused a decline in demand for summer travel.
Speaking about the failed attempt to save the company, Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers. 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 who have supported us for many years. Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.
“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”