Thomas Cook lights a global alarm and tests the industry
The bankruptcy of the oldest travel company in the world, Thomas Cook, has unleashed an authentic cataclysm, leaving 600,000 tourists - 150,000 of them British - trapped abroad
Thomas Cook has succumbed to a debt of 1.7 billion pounds ($ 2.1 billion), competition on the Internet, a changing travel market and geopolitical events that can ruin his summer season. The European heat wave last year also affected the company a lot, as customers postponed last minute reservations.
For its part, the British Transport Minister, Grant Shapps, announced that the Executive and the CAA will have "dozens" of charter flights to transfer the affected customers home free of charge.
"But the task is enormous, it is the largest repatriation operation in British history (since World War II)," said Shapps, who also warned that there will be "problems and delays."
The company managed hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. The company, with 178 years of history, goes bankrupt after a year and a half of deterioration in the accounts that left it in a limited situation. The straw that broke the glass was the failure to secure the 200 million pounds (227 million euros) needed to complete a rescue plan of about 1.2 billion designed by the company and its top shareholder along with the creditors.
The bankruptcy of Thomas Cook is making Caribbean hoteliers fearful of tense situations with clients who are staying in their establishments in the face of the problems they would have to return to their countries. But the damage is not only present but in the future as many vacation packages booked in advance will stay in the air now that the company stopped operating.