Thomas Cook, also the United Kingdom’s 7th largest airline, has been undergoing severe financial instability with the Financial Times reporting the travel group may be forced into compulsory liquidation within days.
A Government spokesperson estimated “as many as 150,000 [citizens] who are currently abroad may be affected by any collapse”, going further to say the Government “will be ready to conduct the biggest repatriation ever in peacetime” should the travel group cease trading. In a contingency plan named “Operation Matterhorn”, a “significant number of aircraft” would be chartered to bring nationals stranded abroad home.
will be ready to conduct the biggest repatriation ever in peacetime
The priority of The Government will be, however, to prevent a collapse. Speaking to members of the press, the spokesperson said the Government is “ready to facilitate talks with the airline in order to find a way to secure the airline’s long-term future”.
A government source also said of the collapse, work was being conducted by “the Departments for Transport, Business and Work and Welfare” on “the potential ramifications for jobs, local economies, customers with bookings, and flight prices.”
Planning also includes a “letter from the Business Secretary to insurance companies asking that they fast track and approve any claims relating to the liquidation”; a “taskforce to be set up by the Business Secretary to monitor and examine the impacts of the closure on local areas, flight prices, and the industry as a whole; and, a “statement from the Work and Welfare Secretary.”
The source was confident “this plan should reassure the public that the government knows exactly what is needed to ensure that Thomas Cook’s closure will be mitigated as far as possible.”