British travel firm Thomas Cook Group has collapsed, leaving at least 21,000 people jobless and over half a million holidaymakers around the globe stranded.
According to Reuters, Thomas Cook – reportedly the world’s oldest travel firm – started in 1841 running local rail excursions before pioneering the package holiday and growing into one of the world’s largest tour operators.
“We have not been able to secure a deal to save our business,” said Thomas Cook Group CEO Peter Fankhauser.
The firm ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million travelers per year in 16 countries, reportedly generating revenue in 2018 of 9.6 billion pounds (Ksh.1.2 trillion).
All Thomas Cook bookings have since been canceled, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
CAA has also been asked by the British government to launch a repatriation program over the next two weeks, from Monday to October 6, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.
“Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavor to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates,” said the authority.
A fleet of aircraft, as reported by Reuters, will be used to repatriate British citizens while, in a small number of destinations, alternative commercial flights will be used.
Below are some reactions following the collapse: