Government urged to prevent banks from pushing Thomas Cook over the edge

Boris Johnson is being urged to intervene to prevent banks from forcing Thomas Cook to the brink of collapse.

The call came from the British Airline Pilots Association after the travel giant confirmed its banks, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, had requested an additional £200 million seasonal standby facility.

Lenders are due to vote on a proposed £900 million rescue deal on September 27 after the key terms were agreed at the end of August, but Travel Weekly understands the travel giant needs to find the extra £200 million within days or risk collapse.

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“These same banks were bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of £65bn and RBS is majority owned by the state,” the pilots union said.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “It is appalling that banks that owe their very existence to handouts from the British taxpayer, show no allegiance to a great British company, Thomas Cook, when it needs help.

“This puts 9,000 good quality UK jobs needlessly at risk and puts an iconic British brand in jeopardy.

“The government has a say in this, owning one of the key banks and still with huge influence over the other.

“RBS and Lloyd’s should be told by the prime minister to support Thomas Cook.

“If Thomas Cook goes into administration it will cost the taxpayer as much to repatriate holidaymakers as it would cost to save Thomas Cook; the government sat on the sidelines wringing its hands when Monarch Airlines was let down by its financiers, this time government needs to get a grip and do its bit to save Thomas Cook.”

RBS told the Daily Telegraph it had provided “considerable support to Thomas Cook over many years” and was continuing to work with other stakeholders to find a resolution.

The Civil Aviation Authority is understood to be on standby with a repatriation contingency plan called ‘Operation Matterhorn’.

 There are believed to be 600,000 Thomas Cook customers on holiday, of which 150,000 to 160,000 are from the UK.

The potential cost of bringing home all passengers is put at about £600 million.

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