Thomas Cook Group ceases trading with immediate effect; Manchester Airport detains aircraft

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Thomas Cook Group, the world’s oldest travel company operating hotels, airlines, cruises & resorts, has ceased trading with immediate effect. In the past week, the holiday group was looking to find another 200 million pounds to cover for the coming winter season (when tour operators traditionally have less cash flow). That amount was in addition to the 900 million pounds package that the company announced late last month and was supposed to be finalised.

All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled. There are currently more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad, almost twice the number that were repatriated following the failure of Monarch.

UK Civil Aviation Authority launches flying programme to bring home Thomas Cook customers

In an internal message to its employees, the airline announced to suspend all flights at the next landing. “Our immediate priorities will be doing that in a safe manner and getting firm information to those of you who are away from base as to how we’re getting you home,” the memo said, adding that “we absolutely will get you and your crews home.

Next to the internal message, Manchester Airport has started impounding Thomas Cook aircraft over non-payment of airport charges. The following pictures show the “Notice of detention of aircraft” stuck on the door of a Thomas Cook Airbus A321 (G-TCDL) that was ferried from London Gatwick earlier in the evening of September 22nd.

Airport staffer Garwain tweeted: “I work at an airport, this #thomascook flight has just landed, I’ve been told to lock it up as it’s not getting loaded in the morning, it should have been however I’ve been told that no more flights will take off. What is in the air is the last fleet, unfortunately it’s over.

Sabrina, a flight attendant working for the airline tweeted: “@ThomasCookUK you were an amazing airline to work for! I am beyond devastated that it has come to an end…. however now jobless and no income its time to move onwards and upwards.

Compulsory liquidation of Thomas Cook Group plc

Further to the announcement made on 20 September 2019, Thomas Cook Group plc (“the Company”) continued to engage with a range of key stakeholders over the weekend in order to secure final terms on the recapitalisation and reorganisation of the Company.

Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the Company’s stakeholders and proposed new money providers. The Company’s board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.

An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the Company before opening of business today and an order has been granted to appoint the Official Receiver as the liquidator of the Company. We anticipate that the Official Receiver will make an application to the High Court for members of AlixPartners UK LLP to be appointed as Special Managers in respect of the Company, to act on behalf of the Official Receiver, and we further anticipate that an order will be granted to that effect. As part of this process, a number of other Thomas Cook Group companies have also entered into compulsory liquidation, with members of either AlixPartners UK LLP or KPMG LLP (depending on the company) being appointed as Special Managers in respect of the relevant Group companies.

We expect that AlixPartners UK LLP will now work very closely with the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK, to effect the repatriation of all UK customers impacted by this announcement.

Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook commented:

“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.

“It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful. I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years. Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.

“Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation.

“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”

The Company has requested that its ordinary shares be suspended from listing on the premium segment of the Official List of the FCA and from trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange with immediate effect.

For press queries relating to the repatriation and future travel of Thomas Cook customers please contact the CAA on press.office@caa.co.uk.

For press queries relating to the affairs of The Thomas Cook Group please contact The Insolvency Service on press.office@insolvency.gov.uk.

For shareholder queries please contact TCUKshareholders@alixpartners.com

For any creditor queries please contact  TCUKcreditors@alixpartners.com

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