Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect. All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled. There are currently more than 150,000 UK Thomas Cook customers abroad.
We know that a company with such long-standing history ceasing trading will be very distressing for its customers, employees, hoteliers and other suppliers, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.
The Government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, from Monday 23 September to Sunday 6 October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.
The Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to fly passengers back to the UK. It is also contacting hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers as part of a holiday package to let them know that the cost of the accommodation for these customers will be covered by the ATOL scheme.
The Civil Aviation Authority has launched a special website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, where affected customers can find details and information on repatriation flights, as well as advice on accommodation for both ATOL and non-ATOL customers.
Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates.
Customers currently overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website.
ATOL Protected passengers with future bookings are entitled to a full refund for their cancelled holiday. Passengers currently overseas may also make claims for the cost of replacing ATOL protected parts of their trip, or for out-of-pocket expenses as a result of delayed flights home. The Civil Aviation Authority will be launching a service to manage all refunds by Monday 30 September, once the flying operation has progressed. This refunds service will seek to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received.
Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“News of Thomas Cook’s collapse is deeply saddening for the company’s employees, customers, hoteliers and other suppliers and we appreciate that more than 150,000 people currently abroad will be anxious about how they will now return to the UK.
“The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers and we have launched a programme to bring them home, which also includes costs to hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers under the Air Travel Trust’s ATOL scheme.”
Anyone affected by this news can check the CAA’s dedicated website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, for advice and information.