All Thomas Cook travel agencies nationwide have shut following the company going into liquidation, the government confirmed today.
The Insolvency Service issued detailed information for customers, staff, creditors and shareholders.
Confirming that winding up orders were made against Thomas Cook Group and its associated company, it said: “All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.
“All of Thomas Cook’s retail shops will close with immediate effect.
“The government is working with the UK Civil Aviation Authority to help passengers return to the UK.
“Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines. This will apply to both Atol protected passengers and those who are not protected.
“If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your arrangements to return to the UK on the CAA website.
“If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.”
Thomas Cook staff can apply to the Insolvency Service for redundancy and other payments if they have an employment contract and live in England, Scotland or Wales but not Northern Ireland.
“If you live outside of England, Scotland and Wales, and also spent the majority of your employment outside of England, Scotland, and Wales, you will need to apply to the redundancy scheme in that jurisdiction,” the advice added.
“On average the Insolvency Service’s redundancy payments service pays redundancy and related claims within 14 days of receipt of information.
“Special arrangements are being put in place to pay sooner if practicable to do so.
“Employees of Thomas Cook’s airline and tour operator companies should approach AlixPartners for further information about how to make a claim via their dedicated website.
“Employees of Thomas Cook’s retail and aircraft maintenance companies should approach KPMG for further information about how to make a claim via their dedicated website or TCemployees@kpmg.co.uk.
“Creditors of Thomas Cook’s airline and tour operator companies will need to complete a Proof of Debt form and submit to AlixPartners.
“Further information can be found on AlixPartners’ dedicated website.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook Group’s listing with the London Stock Exchange has been suspended.
“At the present time Thomas Cook shares cannot be traded on the exchange,” the Insolvency Service confirmed.
“Unfortunately, as a result of the liquidation appointments, there is no prospect of a return to Thomas Cook’s shareholders.
“Shareholders should be aware of any approaches in the form of third parties offering to dispose of their shares, in exchange for the up-front payment of fees.”
Ministers came under fire for the hanging Thomas Cook staff “out to dry” rather than step in to help save the company.
The union representing Thomas Cook high street travel agency and head office employees issued a plea to government to help fight for lost jobs.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association had called for immediate government intervention to secure the future of the firm when it became clear that a planned financial rescue was floundering.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Administration need not have happened – the government had been given ample opportunity to step in and help Thomas Cook but has instead chosen ideological dogma over saving thousands of jobs.
“That they would rather hang our members out to dry instead of rescuing Thomas Cook is shameful and wrongheaded.
“There remains the question of repatriating 150,000 British holidaymakers and the cost to the public purse of doing so. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to know it would have been cheaper and more cost effective to save what is a cornerstone of the British high street.
“Our union is still urgently seeking meetings with government to discuss exactly what happens next and will not give up the fight for jobs. But clearly Tory ministers should hang their heads in shame over their inaction.”
The British Airline Pilots Association said the hopes of all Thomas Cook employees that their airline could survive has been “brutally quashed” this morning as they wake up to find they have no job.
“While detailed plans to repatriate passengers have been carefully put together and ministers have and will continue to claim the credit for that, the staff have been stabbed in the back without a second’s thought,” the pilots’ union added.
“Despite continuing to keep Thomas Cook going in recent weeks with dignity and integrity while their own futures were being secretly decided we don’t even know if staff will get a pay cheque this month. It is despicable. Thomas Cook pilots and all staff deserve better than this.
“For pilots, Balpa will be supporting our members through the legal complexities of what Thomas Cook liquidation means for them and doing everything we can to help them find alternative jobs in other airlines.”
Balpa also queried how German airline Condor, part of the Thomas Cook Group, is able to keep flying while the UK airline was immediately grounded.
General secretary Brian Strutton said:“The main difference between the UK and German contexts is that the German government is considering Thomas Cook’s request for short-term state aid, while the UK government gave a firm ‘no’.
“Is that the reason that Thomas Cook found a way to keep the German airline operating, while the UK airline was grounded, thousands of staff members immediately lost their jobs and the UK tax-payer is having to foot a bill for repatriation efforts?”
The Unite union, which represents nearly 3,000 cabin crew and engineers at Thomas Cook’s airline, accused the government of leaving workers and customers high and dry while leaving taxpayers to pick up the bill.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the union will be launching legal action “over a failure to consult on the redundancies that have resulted from the firm’s collapse”.
He said: “News of the needless collapse of Thomas Cook is devastating for the workforce and customers. Thomas Cook Airlines was a profitable and viable operation with a loyal workforce.
“Instead of stepping in and giving Thomas Cook the breathing space it needed to restructure its finances, the government’s ‘do nothing’ attitude has left workers and customers high and dry while landing taxpayers with a bill of hundreds of millions of pounds.
“Unite will be meeting the administrator and giving our members maximum support while working to match Thomas Cook Airline workers with other airlines that have vacancies.”
But Fred Roeder, London-based managing director of advocacy group Consumer Choice Center, argued that that an intervention by the government would be the wrong direction to take.
He said: “It is sad to see a legacy travel company such as Thomas Cook to go under. But many politicians want to show their support to stranded travellers by flying them home on taxpayers’ dime.
“While it is very unfortunate to be stranded at the end of a holiday, one should ask why taxpayers should pay for tourists who didn’t buy insolvency or travel insurance?
“Why should those who stayed home because they either didn’t have the money or time for holidays bail out those who went for a holiday trip but didn’t want to spend the extra few pounds for insurance? This is effectively is the scenario that ordinary British consumers and taxpayers are faced with,” said Roeder.
“We cannot expect Britons who didn’t go on holiday to bail out those who did without reasonable insurance, and effectively bail out the company for its own financial mess.
“Airlines and tour operators going bankrupt happens regularly. Monarch and AirBerlin are just two recent European examples.
“If the government steps in every time a travel company goes bust, the wrong incentives will be set – travellers won’t buy insurances and at the same time risk booking heavily discounted offers from troubled travel companies.
“If this happens, then the next government-sponsored airlift will just be around the corner.”
Blair Nimmo, Jim Tucker, David Pike, Mike Pink and Ben Leith of KPMG were appointed to assist the Official Receiver carry out his duties in the retail and aircraft maintenance companies in liquidation:
Thomas Cook Aircraft Engineering Limited
Thomas Cook Retail Limited
TCCT Retail Limited
The Freedom Travel Group Limited
Future Travel Limited
Travel and Financial Services Limited
Retail Travel Limited
Simon Appell, Alastair Beveridge, Dan Imison and Ben Browne of AlixPartners were appointed special managers to assist the Official Receiver carry out his duties in airline and tour operator companies in liquidation:
Thomas Cook Airlines Limited
Thomas Cook Group Treasury Limited
Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited
Thomas Cook Airlines Treasury plc
Thomas Cook In Destination Management Limited
Thomas Cook Group Tour Operations Limited
Thomas Cook Group plc
Thomas Cook Money Limited
Thomas Cook Services Limited
My Travel Group Limited
Thomas Cook Investments (2) Limited
Thomas Cook Continental Holdings Limited
Blue Sea Overseas Investments Limited
Thomas Cook Group UK Limited
Thomas Cook Finance 2 Plc
Thomas Cook Group Airlines Limited
Thomas Cook West Investments Limited
Thomas Cook UK Limited
Thomas Cook UK Travel Limited