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Travel giant Thomas Cook fails to find private funds to avert collapse: source

AFP

London

Iconic British travel firm Thomas Cook has failed to find further private investment to stave off collapse and is now relying on an unlikely government bailout, a source close the matter told AFP on Saturday.

The operator said on Friday that it needed 200 million pound (USD 250 million, 227 million euros) — in addition to the 900-million pound rescue deal secured last month — or else face administration, which could potentially trigger Britain’s largest repatriation since World War II.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP the company had failed to find the 200 million pound from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator’s longer-term viability, the Times reported on Saturday, leaving it on the brink of collapse and stranding up to 150,000 British holidaymakers abroad.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents workers at the company, called on the government to rescue the firm.

“It is incumbent upon the government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it,” said TSSA
General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

“The company must be rescued no matter what.”  Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines prompted the British government to take emergency action to return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some 60 million pound on hiring planes.

The government at the time described it as Britain’s “biggest-ever peacetime repatriation”.

Thousands of workers could also lose their jobs, with the 178-year-old company employing about 22,000 staff worldwide, including 9,000 in Britain.

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