LONDON, UK: The world’s oldest travel firm, Thomas Cook, collapsed on Monday, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded around the globe.
In a statement, the firm said it was unable to reach an agreement between its stakeholders and proposed money providers, adding “it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.”
The company had sought €226 million ($250 million) from investors to save it from insolvency.
The travel agency said that due to the magnanimity of the crisis, “some disruption is inevitable” but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “will endeavor to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates.”
The CAA said the world’s oldest travel agency has now ceased trading after 178 years in business.
The firm currently has 600,000 people abroad including 150,000 Brits, sparking the largest peacetime rescue operation in British history.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association has appealed to the Government to offer “real financial support” to save the company and employees.
Most of firm’s clients are covered by the government’s travel insurance program, which makes sure that vacationers get home if a British tour operator goes under.
UK Government and the aviation regulator have drawn up a strategy to use other companies and airlines to bring Britons back home.
Thomas Cook Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser apologized for the company’s collapse, “We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers.”
“Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable,” he said, adding “It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful.”
“I would like to apologize to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years.”