Repatriations and refunds: States react to Thomas Cook collapse

Some 600,000 people have been left stranded by the collapse of the world's oldest travel firm.

    British travel operator Thomas Cook, which ran hotels, resorts and airlines ferrying 19 million people a year to 16 different countries, has collapsed under a pile of bankruptcy.

    The firm went out of business on Monday after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders. 

    The collapse has left some 600,000 customers stranded abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge operation to bring them all home. 

    Here's how affected countries are responding:

    United Kingdom

    The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), regulator and government have a fleet of planes ready to begin repatriating more than 150,000 British customers who are currently abroad over the next two weeks.


    French organisation Entreprises de Voyage said that about 10,000 French tourists could be affected by Thomas Cook's bankruptcy.


    Norwegian subsidiary Ving said in a press statement that 8,685 Norwegians are currently on its tours.

    The Norwegian Travel Guarantee Fund, an insurance scheme that is compulsory for tour operators, issued a statement saying it will ensure any passengers travelling with Thomas Cook's Norwegian unit will be repatriated.



    Danish subsidiary Spies said in a press release on Monday that none of its planes will be leaving, and about 1,400 travellers are affected.

    A press contact in Thomas Cook said that affected travellers will have their trips refunded.


    Thomas Cook unit Oy Tjareborg said it has a total of 2,884 passengers currently travelling.

    "We are currently doing all we can to arrange return flights for passengers and will provide more information during the day," the company said on its website.


    The Swedish unit, Ving, said the number of Swedish passengers currently away came to 16,956.

    "We are now working intensely to ensure that all affected travelers are flown home with as little disruption as possible", the company said on its website.


    The Russian tour operator subsidiary, Intourist, said the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook will have no impact on clients, Executive Director Sergei Tolchin told Interfax news agency.


    Thomas Cook holiday airline Condor said it will continue its flight operations despite its parent company's insolvency. "Condor ... is continuing operations," the German airline said in a statement.

    Thomas Cook says there are roughly 140,000 holidaymakers currently travelling with its German units.

    The Netherlands

    As of Monday morning, the Netherlands unit of Thomas Cook was still operating.


    The Polish unit, Neckermann, said its financial condition is stable and it continues to operate normally, with holidaymakers unaffected.


    A Greek tourism ministry official told Reuters that about 50,000 tourists are stranded.

    "The top priority now is to get them back home," the official, who declined to be named, said.


    Spanish airport operator, Aena, said 46 flights operated by Thomas Cook have been cancelled in Spanish airports.

    Between 25,000 and 30,000 tourists are affected in the Canary Islands, according to local media.


    The Turkish Ministry of Tourism said it will provide support for local companies affected by the Thomas Cook collapse.

    The Hotelier Federation head said about 45,000 tourists from the UK and Europe are in the country. 


    Cyprus's deputy minister for tourism said arrangements are now under way to ferry 15,000 travellers back home. 

    Savvas Perdios said after emergency talks with tourism sector chiefs on Monday that half of those clients are UK citizens, 40 percent hail from Scandinavian countries and the rest are from Germany.

    He added that the collapse will be a blow to Cyprus's tourism industry as Thomas Cook accounts for five to six percent of the island's annual tourist arrivals.


    Thomas Cook Belgium said its operations are continuing while trying to "limit the impact" of the company's collapse. 

    The company added that clients who booked their holidays via Thomas Cook Belgium or its local partner, Neckermann, are covered by a travel guarantee fund. 


    Operator Blue Sky Group said on Monday that 25,000 reservations in Egypt books up to April 2020 have been cancelled.

    Blue Sky currently has 1,600 Thomas Cook tourists in Egypt's Hugharda resort on the Red Sea, its chairman Hossam El-Shaer said in a statement to Reuters news agency.

    The company was expecting 100,000 tourists to visit Egypt via Thomas Cook in 2020, the statement added.

    SOURCE: News agencies