Holidaymakers stranded by the collapse of Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel firm, desperately scrambled for information on Monday on how to get home, as Britain mounted its largest peacetime repatriation effort.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government was right not to bail out tour company Thomas Cook, arguing that travel firms should do more to ensure they don't collapse.
Thomas Cook, which began in 1841 with a one-day train excursion in England, has been struggling over the past few years.
Passengers who booked a package holiday are "ATOL" protected and can therefore claim a refund via the CAA, or rearrange flights with their respective travel agency if they booked through a company other than Thomas Cook.
22,000 jobs are at risk, 9,000 in the UK. Heat waves over the past couple of summers in Europe have also led many people to stay at home, while higher fuel and hotel costs have weighed on the travel business.
British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the government had managed to "acquire planes from across the world" to get people home, and call centers had been established to answer travelers' queries. Today, the Chinese shareholder said it was "disappointed that Thomas Cook Group has not been able to find a viable solution for its proposed recapitalization".
"Thomas Cook customers in the United Kingdom yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the United Kingdom have been cancelled".
Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder's spirit of innovation.
Tour company Thomas Cook collapses
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Some 20,000 of the Thomas Cook customers in Greece are on Crete, according to Michalis Vlatakis, the head of the island's union of tour operators, who described the collapse of Thomas Cook as a "7-magnitude quake", adding that the local tourism sector was "waiting for the tsunami".
The death of the ailing 178-year old company came after lengthy talks to broker a deal to save it.
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Frankhauser said in a statement that management had worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues.
Online travel booker On the Beach Group Plc (LON:OTB) has told investors that it is working to help its customers that are now on holiday and had return flights with Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd, which along with other Thomas Cook Group Plc (LON:TCG) entities have entered compulsory liquidation. The carrier also said that, for now, flights will remain operational.
"We're continuing to concentrate on what we do best: flying our guests safely and punctually to their holidays", said managing director Ralf Teckentrup.
In August 2018, Fosun, a tourism group based in Hong Kong which already held a 12% share in the group, announced it would acquire 25% of Thomas Cook Airline and 75% equity of its tour operator for £450 million. With this, all bookings of the company were cancelled, leaving more than a lakh tourists stranded around the world. Now, it's also being asked to assess Thomas Cook's liquidation.