Countries scramble after Thomas Cook collapse strands travellers

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The collapse of British travel operator Thomas Cook TCG.L has left hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers abroad and forced governments and insurers to coordinate a huge operation to get them home.

The company ran hotels, resorts and airlines ferrying 19 million people a year to 16 different countries.

Here is a summary of the actions being taken:

UNITED KINGDOM

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and government have a fleet of planes ready to start bringing home more than 150,000 British travellers in a process expected to take two weeks.

GERMANY

Thomas Cook holiday airline Condor says it will continue its flight operation despite its parent company’s insolvency.

“Condor … is continuing operations,” the German airline said in a statement.

Thomas Cook says there are roughly 140,000 holidaymakers currently travelling with its German units.

FRANCE

French organization Entreprises de Voyage said that about 10,000 French tourists could be affected by the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook.

NORDICS

Thomas Cook’s Nordic business, the Ving group, said it will continue operations as normal from Tuesday despite the collapse of the parent company on Monday.

In the Nordics, close to 35,000 holidaymakers were travelling at the time of the announcement, with flights cancelled on Monday. Ving will resume normal operations on Tuesday. This includes:

NORWAY

Ving said that currently 8,685 Norwegians are on its tours.

The Norwegian Travel Guarantee Fund, an insurance scheme that is compulsory for tour operators, issued a statement saying it will ensure any passengers travelling with Thomas Cook’s Norwegian unit will be repatriated.

SWEDEN

Ving in Sweden said it had some 16,956 Swedish passengers travelling. “We are now working intensely to ensure that all affected travellers are flown home with as little disruption as possible,” the company said on its website.

DENMARK

Denmark’s Spies, part of Ving said Monday evening that Thomas Cook’s insolvency had no direct implication for its customers. It said on Tuesday the focus was on ensuring that all aircraft fly on schedule.

FINLAND

Tjäreborg, part of Ving, says it has a total of 2,884 passengers travelling. “We are currently doing all we can to arrange return flights for passengers,” the company said on its website.

SPAIN

Spanish Airport operator Aena said 46 flights operated by Thomas Cook have been cancelled.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 tourists are affected in the Canary Islands, according to official sources.

GREECE

A Greek tourism ministry official told Reuters that about 50,000 tourists were stranded.

“The top priority now is to get them back home,” the official said, declining to be identified.

CYPRUS

Cyprus says 15,000 Thomas Cook customers are stranded on the island.

“We will work intensively… I believe that a large portion of the arrivals we stand to lose will somehow be regulated by the market and other travel agencies,” Deputy Minister of Tourism said Savvas Perdios told Reuters.

HUNGARY

Thomas Cook’s Hungarian unit Neckermann Magyarorszag said in a statement on its website that it was continuing its operations and all passengers would be able to return from abroad as planned.

It said its financial situation was stable and its assets were sufficient guarantee that its passengers would not suffer any financial damage. It said passengers should contact its offices directly about upcoming flights.

THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch unit of Thomas Cook on Tuesday said it had cancelled all travel booked through Thomas Cook Netherlands and subsidiary Neckermann.

BELGIUM

Thomas Cook’s Belgium unit was not taking new bookings on Tuesday morning. Brussels Airlines, which flew passengers booked on Thomas Cook packages, cancelled two sets of flights to and from Tunisia.

Following the difficult financial situation at Thomas Cook Belgium and the fact that the tour operator cannot honour overdue payments from recent weeks, Brussels Airlines, part of Lufthansa, said it would be forced to start cancelling flights that the airline operates on behalf of the tour operator.

POLAND

Thomas Cook’s Polish unit Neckermann said its financial condition is stable and it continues to operate normally, with holidaymakers unaffected.

On Tuesday Puls Biznesu daily said that Neckermann stopped selling holidays on Monday. The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper reported on Tuesday that around 2,000 Neckermann customers were still abroad.

BULGARIA

There are currently about 2,500 tourists in Bulgaria who have booked their holidays through Thomas Cook. Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said the UK government and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority were taking measures to get them home.

RUSSIA

Thomas Cook’s Russian tour operator subsidiary, Intourist, said the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook will have no impact on clients, Executive Director Sergei Tolchin told Interfax.

TURKEY

The Turkish Ministry of Tourism said it will provide support for local companies affected by the Thomas Cook collapse.

The head of the country’s Hotelier Federation said about 45,000 tourists from the UK and elsewhere in Europe are in the country.

MOROCCO

Morocco’s tourism ministry said it had created a crisis unit to handle the fallout from Thomas Cook’s collapse. Thomas Cook operated two flights to Marrakesh a week. No official numbers were given.

EGYPT

Thomas Cook operator Blue Sky Group said that 25,000 reservations in Egypt booked up to April 2020 had been cancelled. Blue Sky currently has 1,600 tourists in Egypt’s Hugharda resort.

TUNISIA

Tunisian tourism minister Rene Trabelsi told Reuters that 4,500 Thomas Cook customers are still on holiday in Tunisia.

INDIA

Thomas Cook India said it had been unaffected as it has been a separate entity since August 2012.

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