“I would like to apologize to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years,” said Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser as he announced that the company would cease trading with immediate effect.
All scheduled flights and bookings have been cancelled, sparking the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation effort – with the codename Operation Matterhorn – to bring home 150,000 British holidaymakers overseas.
Swedish travel company Ving – which is owned by Thomas Cook – cancelled all its flights on Monday, affecting 1,706 travellers set to fly out of Sweden and 1,554 people who were to return home.
“Those who are travelling home with other airlines than Thomas Cook will get home today, but all other flights are affected,” Fredrik Henriksson, spokesperson for Ving, told the TT news agency.
He was not able to confirm the status of Tuesday’s flights early on Monday morning.
“As soon as we have new information we will release it. So far we have said Monday, but at the moment you have to wait for information. If you have not heard anything your flight is not cancelled,” he said.
Ving customers are protected by the Swedish Travel Guarantee Act, which means that customers who booked a package deal can get reimbursed if their journey gets cancelled. More information about the travel guarantee can be found here. It does not apply to regular commercial flights.
Founded in 1841 to organize train journeys, Thomas Cook is the world’s oldest holiday company. It has 22,000 employees around the world, 9,000 in the UK, and 3,000 hotels linked to the company.