More than 600,000 vacationers who booked through tour operator Thomas Cook were on edge Sunday, wondering if they will be able to get home, as one of the world's oldest and biggest travel companies teetered on the edge of collapse.
As Thomas Cook, the legendary British travel agency, desperately tries to secure further private investment or government assistance to save its firm, some of its customers are already feeling the repercussions of its financial struggles.
Chinese peer Fosun, which was already the biggest shareholder in Thomas Cook, agreed last month to inject £450 million into the business as part of an initial £900 million rescue package.
"We were sorry to learn that the United Kingdom tour operator and airline Thomas Cook has been placed into administration". In Germany, where some 300,000 are overseas with the operator, it will fall to their insurance companies to help get them home.
The government and the aviation regulator have drawn up a plan to step in and use other airlines to bring Britons home if needed.
SAGA: Saga Plc, the over-50s specialist, said it was securing alternative flights, where possible, for its customers who are due to travel imminently and have been impacted by the collapse of Thomas Cook.
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Webjet said it had expected to earn between $150 million and $200 million in FY20 total transactional value from Thomas Cook, which owed Webjet about $43.7 million when it collapsed.
The company's demise comes just two years after the collapse of Monarch Airlines that prompted the British government to take emergency action and return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some £60 million on hiring planes.
Thomas Cook was established in 1841. Britain called the repatriation of 150 thousand British travelers the largest repatriation mission the country has ever faced in peacetime.
"An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the Company before opening of business today and an order has been granted to appoint the Official Receiver as the liquidator of the Company", it said in the statement.
Overall, about 600,000 people were travelling with the company as of Sunday, though it was unclear how many of them would be left stranded, as some travel subsidiaries were in talks with local authorities to continue operating. The move saw all bookings, flights and package tours canceled, sparking online panic for travelers. "We have been together eight years and never been overseas together", she said.
"After an hour they left the hotel and are now at the airport", said a spokesman for the Tunisian interior ministry.
About 50,000 tourists are stranded in Greece, mainly on its islands, Greece's tourism minister said as extra flights were booked to ensure their smooth return home. First pictures appeared on social media just before 1 am time, which show a detention letter on one of Thomas Cook's Airbus A321s at Manchester Airport.