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Airlines

Bankruptcy Grounds Thomas Cook Airlines, Strands Flyers

Bankruptcy Grounds Thomas Cook Airlines, Strands Flyers
Joe Cortez

After rumors emerged of Thomas Cook Airlines’ demise, the carrier has officially filed for insolvency under United Kingdom law and immediately grounded all flights. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority is now working through their assets and with other airlines to make sure the thousands of flyers stranded can get home.

Vacation airline Thomas Cook Airlines has officially filed for insolvency, grounding all flights and stranding an estimated 150,000 flyers overseas. The former website for the British carrier no longer offers flights for sale, but instead offers a simple message: “The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled.”

In a press release, the carrier says they attempted to “engage with a range of key stakeholders” to keep the airline flying. However, Thomas Cook was unable to find any investors to help keep the troubled vacation airline afloat. Before opening for business on Monday, the airline filed for insolvency under United Kingdom law and is seeking to “enter compulsory liquidation.” In a statement on Twitter, the airline announced they have “ceased trading with immediate effect,” and will no longer monitor social media accounts.

“We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers,” Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook said in the press release. “Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.”

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority is now stepping in to help stranded flyers return home. On their Thomas Cook page, the CAA announced they will fly passengers home on flights operated by either the authority or other airlines. Flyers with return flights aboard Thomas Cook to the United Kingdom between September 23 and October 6 can seek CAA help; all others may be forced to book their own flights home.

Arriving Thomas Cook flyers are feeling the strain of the carrier’s insolvency and pending liquidation. Some are taking their stories to social media, sharing the frustration when an airline shuts down.

On the FlyerTalk forums, members are mourning the loss of another vacation airline. Shortly after the announcement, FlyerTalker DaveS wrote: “A very sad day indeed. It is a great shame that something could not be done to save this company.” FlyerTalker iflyjetz had a similar feeling when they received the news: “I hadn’t heard anything about them having financial difficulties. Makes one wonder how many more European airlines are teetering on the edge of insolvency.”

FlyerTalkers are also trying to help each other get home after the collapse was announced. On a thread, members have posted the phone number to contact British Airways if the flag carrier was operating a Thomas Cook tour.

Amidst the confusion, Thomas Cook subsidiary Condor claims they are still flying aircraft from their headquarters in Germany. In a statement on the Condor website, the airline announced: “All Condor Flights (DE flight number) are operating as scheduled.” But if you are flying aboard a vacation booked by Thomas Cook or their other travel agencies, the airline was “informed by [the] tour operator that unfortunately your outbound flight will not be carried out as planned today (September 23) or tomorrow (September 24).

Condor has a partnership agreement with Alaska Airlines, where flyers can use Mileage Plan miles for Condor award flights. FlyerTalker Seattlenerd reached out to Alaska about the Thomas Cook announcement and Condor’s current plans, and the airline responded: “At this time, we have no info as to how this [the Thomas Cook insolvency] might affect Condor. Once we have more details, we’ll let our members know.”

This is a breaking news story. More information will be added as it becomes available. You can track the changes in the FlyerTalk forums in the following threads:

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