Thomas Cook has announced it has ceased trading, affecting holiday makers and staff in the Borders.
After days of speculation, the Thomas Cook Group has today (Monday 23rd September) confirmed that it has ceased trading and has been placed in compulsory liquidation.
More than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers are currently abroad, making the task of getting people back to the UK the largest peacetime repatriation undertaken by the UK Government.
The news will also affect the 9,000 staff employed in the UK by Thomas Cook, including at the Channel Street branch in Galashiels.
All Thomas Cook flights have now been cancelled and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and UK Government are working together to get passengers home as close as possible to their planned date.
Normally the CAA would only be responsible for bringing passengers home if they are covered by the Air Travel Organisers License (ATOL) scheme, but the UK Government has instructed the CAA to make sure all passengers are brought home, free of charge. This is being estimated to cost around £100m, significantly lower than the £250m Government bailout that Thomas Cook has asked for.
Local MP John Lamont is urging any constituents who are affected to check thomascook.caa.co.uk for more information and guidance.
John Lamont MP said: “This is really disappointing news for staff at Thomas Cook and the 150,000 Brits who are currently abroad.
“Getting everyone home represents the largest peacetime repatriation undertaken by the UK Government but the Department for Transport has rightly been planning for this scenario for some time.
“I am pleased that the UK Government is making sure that everyone who is affected will get home whether or not their holiday is protected.
“The advice for people already on holiday is that they should try to enjoy their time away as in most circumstances they will not be flown home ahead of their scheduled return date.
“I’d urge staff in Galashiels who have concerns to get in touch with me, or to check the CAA website for more information.”