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Thomas Cook collapse left £585m of holidays cancelled

The travel firm went bust in September.

Trade creditors such as hoteliers, airports and aircraft catering suppliers were owed £885m when Thomas Cook collapsed (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Trade creditors such as hoteliers, airports and aircraft catering suppliers were owed £885m when Thomas Cook collapsed (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Holidaymakers lost trips costing more than half a billion pounds when Thomas Cook collapsed, new figures show.

The Insolvency Service said £585 million was owed to customers for package holidays, flights and other services after the firm went bust in September.

Trade creditors such as hoteliers, airports and aircraft catering suppliers were owed £885 million.

Total liabilities for Thomas Cook Group were around £9 billion, with the majority owed to other companies within the group, including some which have ceased operations.

The Insolvency Service said it is not known how much of the money will be paid back as a result of the liquidation.

Some 300,000 of the cancelled holidays are financially protected under the Atol scheme, although earlier this month the Civil Aviation Authority said around one in three of the first people to claim refunds were not paid within the 60-day target.

The regulator insists it wants to issue refunds “as soon as possible” but said some cannot be paid until additional information is provided by claimants.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom added: “It is totally unacceptable and irresponsible for companies to reward mismanagement, with huge bonuses for directors who fail in their duty of care to employees and creditors.

“This Government is committed to strengthening corporate governance rules, ensuring taxpayers and employees are better protected if firms go into insolvency.”

Many Thomas Cook customers have taken to social media to express their frustration over the time it is taking to get their money back.

Dale Edwards wrote on Twitter: “Day 67 still no refund. All information sent to Protect Claims.”

He added: “Really getting annoyed now.”

Another customer, Sarah Aves, wrote: “I have emailed 6 times. No reply, have not received my refund and have not been asked for additional information. Claim was submitted 7th October. What is going on!”

Rory Boland, editor of magazine Which? Travel, said: “This is a stark reminder of the huge financial impact that the collapse of Thomas Cook has had on hundreds of thousands of customers, who saw plans for holidays, weddings and other long-awaited trips vanish into thin air.

“While it is understandably frustrating for customers who are still waiting to get their money back, we would urge people to make sure they stick with official channels as scammers have tried to take advantage in the past.

“In the longer term, the government must look at what measures can be introduced to ensure that holidaymakers aren’t left picking up the pieces when holiday firms or airlines collapse.”

PA

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