Quantcast
Connect with us

UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

Published

on

Thomas Cook’s 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain’s largest peacetime repatriation.

ADVERTISEMENT

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator’s longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

The firm’s creditors held a marathon meeting on Sunday to try and work out a deal, followed by a meeting of the board of directors.

The group issued a last-ditch plea to creditors to reduce the £200m funding demand or restructure the debt, according to Sky News.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it appears to have fallen on deaf ears, with the Financial Times reporting late Sunday that the efforts were unlikely to succeed and the Guardian saying it would go into administration in the early hours of Monday morning, with flights already being pulled from booking websites.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents workers at the company, called on the government to save the firm.

“The company must be rescued no matter what,” said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey called on the government to step in by “taking an equity stake to avoid this crisis”.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab promised that the 150,000 British tourists affected would not end up stuck abroad.

“I can reassure people that in the worst-case scenario, the contingency planning is there for people to avoid being stranded,” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines prompted the British government to take emergency action to return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some £60 million on hiring planes.

The government at the time described it as Britain’s “biggest-ever peacetime repatriation”.

– Jobs threat –

ADVERTISEMENT

But holidaymakers were already reporting problems, with guests at a hotel in Tunisia owed money by Thomas Cook being asked for extra money before being allowed to leave, according to a tourist interviewed by AFP.

“After an hour they left the hotel and are currently at the airport,” said a spokesman for the Tunisian interior ministry.

The group’s activities would cease immediately in the event of bankruptcy, forcing its travel agencies to close, grounding its planes and leaving the group’s 22,000 global employees — 9,000 of whom are in Britain — out of a job.

Chinese peer Fosun, which was already the biggest shareholder in Thomas Cook, agreed last month to inject £450 million into the business as part of an initial £900 million rescue package.

ADVERTISEMENT

In return, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate acquired a 75 percent stake in Thomas Cook’s tour operating division and 25 percent of its airline unit.

Thomas Cook in May revealed that first-half losses widened on a major write-down, caused in part by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday bookings. The group, which has around 600 stores across the UK, has also come under pressure from fierce online competition.

Cabinet maker Thomas Cook created the travel firm in 1841 to carry temperance supporters by train between British cities.

It soon began arranging foreign trips, being the first operator to take British travellers on escorted visits to Europe in 1855, to the United States in 1866 and on a round-the-world trips in 1872.

ADVERTISEMENT

The company was also a pioneer in introducing “circular note” — products that would later become traveller’s cheques.

It now has annual sales of £9 billion, serving 19 million customers in 16 countries.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump rants about Christopher Columbus during press conference with Italy’s president

Published

on

President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that he would never stop celebrating Christopher Columbus.

"The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to ancient Rome," Trump said during a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

"Over the centuries, the Italian people have blessed our civilization with magnificent works of art, science, philosophy, architecture, and music. On Monday, we paid tribute to the Italian explorer who led a voyage of discovery to the new world. A gentleman known as Christopher Columbus. To me, it will always be called Columbus Day. Some people don’t like that. I do."

Continue Reading

Facebook

Chelsea Clinton accidentally scorches Meghan McCain while dismissing congressional rumors on The View

Published

on

Chelsea Clinton dismissed the rumors that she's considering a run for Congress -- while taking a subtle swipe at fellow political daughter Meghan McCain.

Clinton filled in Wednesday as co-host on "The View" for Joy Behar, who's been out all week, and was asked right away to comment on rumors that she might run for the House seat vacated by the retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).

"I understand why people are asking, and someone has asked me some version of this question for literally as long as I can remember," Clinton said.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Not true’: Fox News calls out Trump for lying about keeping US soldiers out of harm’s way

Published

on

As the U.S. military grapples with the logistics of a quick withdrawal from the northern part of Syria, President Donald Trump drew criticism for abandoning the Kurds and endangering U.S. troops. There are also reports that the army's departure has resulted in members of ISIS escaping from prison.

On Wednesday, Trump defended his decision, insisting that U.S. soldiers were not in danger. "Our soldiers are not in harm's way," he said. “That has nothing to do with us,” he added, about the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds at the Turkish-Syrian border.

But top military officials told Fox News that this was not true. "Not true, according to top US military commanders who tell Fox this is a complicated, deliberate phased withdrawal with a lot of inherent risk," Jennifer Griffin, National Security correspondent for Fox News, wrote on Twitter. "Already US warplanes had to warn approaching foreign troops with a show of force."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image