Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Majority of Thomas Cook crew left abroad after collapse are returned home

Around 17,000 passengers were brought back on Wednesday.

A Thomas Cook aircraft parked at Manchester Airport as the 178-year-old tour operator ceased trading with immediate effect after failing in a final bid to secure a rescue package from creditors (PA/PeterByrne)
A Thomas Cook aircraft parked at Manchester Airport as the 178-year-old tour operator ceased trading with immediate effect after failing in a final bid to secure a rescue package from creditors (PA/PeterByrne)

By Tom Pilgrim, PA

The majority of Thomas Cook air crew members who were abroad when the company collapsed have been returned home, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said.

In an update on efforts to bring more than 150,000 people back to the UK, the CAA said more than 150 Thomas Cook crew had been brought home.

The CAA said 71 flights had operated on Wednesday, bringing back around 17,000 passengers.

Over the course of three days of its operation, part of the largest peacetime repatriation, the CAA said 46,000 people had successfully flown home, around 30% of total holidaymakers.

The CAA said of those heading back to the UK, 95% flew back on the day of their original Thomas Cook flight.

Writing on Twitter, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said more than 70 rescue flights were planned for Thursday “repatriating around 17K more people if all goes to plan”.

The CAA’s flight programme is due to continue until October 6 with more than 1,000 flights planned in total.

Progress on repatriating comes as MPs called on the Government to take action against Thomas Cook directors and legislate to improve the travel industry.

In the Commons on Wednesday, Tory MP Robert Halfon said people in his Harlow constituency had lost their jobs and asked: “Should we not be seizing the assets of the directors who plundered this company and took it to ruin?”

In response, Mr Shapps said it was “very important to allow the correct channels, the official receiver, to do their job in this regard.”

He said: “To stress to the house, under the 1986 Insolvency Act, the official receiver’s liquidator may indeed seek to overturn a range of transactions made prior to the liquidation and, to be clear, that includes things like these bonuses which are being mentioned.”

Mr Shapps added: “Though I do think we need to leave it to due process to see whether that would be appropriate.

Labour’s Clive Betts also asked Mr Shapps to “guarantee” there would be a Bill reforming the travel industry in the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Shapps replied: “Without wanting to reveal the contents of the Queen’s Speech, and I hope he’ll appreciate that I have hinted very broadly where we want to go and with the reassurance of the opposition front bench, I think he will have his asks answered.”

On Wednesday people were being warned of scammers targeting those affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

MPs were told people were being targeted by fraudsters offering refunds to those who had lost money from cancelled flights and holidays.

Mr Shapps branded the fraudulent activity “absolutely disgusting” and said the Government had issued scam warning messages.

Also on Wednesday, the chief executive officer of Thomas Cook Airlines Christoph Debus apologised for a “celebratory video” posted to Facebook that showed him being applauded by staff from Thomas Cook’s Germany airline subsidiary company, Condor, after it was announced it would receive receive 380 million euros (£336 million) from the German government to keep it operating.

Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of Monday after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal.

About 9,000 staff in the UK face redundancy.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph