The government must halt the liquidation of “profitable” Thomas Cook Airlines after sale of the company’s 555 travel agencies to Hays Travel.

The call came from the Unite union which claimed the acquisition of Thomas Cook’s agency network, potentially saving 2,500 jobs, posed questions over government strategy over its handling of the entire company’s collapse.

There should now be a detailed examination of what can be done to help Thomas Cook Airline workers find jobs.

Referring to the Hays Travel deal, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “This announcement is clearly good news for the workers concerned and the communities the shops serve.

“However, the sale of the shops further throws into serious question the government’s entire strategy with regards to Thomas Cook.

“The sale of the shops clearly demonstrates that various parts of the business were viable.

“The Thomas Cook airline was not only viable but was profit making. Yet the government made no attempt to allow the airline to continue to fly.

“Instead it was placed into compulsory liquidation with the loss of 4,000 jobs.”

She added: “Given the latest developments it is clear that the government’s assessment that providing any financial assistance would risk ‘throwing good money after bad’ has been proven to be entirely false.

“The government should look again at the UK Thomas Cook airline and in doing so call a halt to the insolvency process.

“This would then allow there to be a proper and thorough examination of what action can be taken to find employment opportunities for Thomas Cook’s airline staff.”