178 years old British tour company Thomas Cook collapsed after failing to secure rescue funding, and as a result, its 22,000 employees in 16 countries, including 9,000 in the UK, will lose their jobs.
The collapse has also read to cancellation of travel bookings for its more than 600,000 global vacationers and its four airlines will also be grounded. The firm also operated around 600 UK travel stores.
The company will set to begin bring back 150,000 British customers now abroad starting today.
The collapse comes as the company several months ago had blamed a slowdown in bookings because of Brexit uncertainty for contributing to its crushing debt burden. It was seeking 200 million pounds ($250 Mn) to avoid a collapse. It was in weekend talks with shareholders and creditors to stave off failure which did not materialize.
The company's chief executive Peter Fankhauser stated, “This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”
He added that a deal had been "largely agreed" but that "an additional facility" requested in the last few days presented an insurmountable challenge.
A website set up by the aviation authority to help the firm's customers crashed shortly after the company collapse was announced. While travelers will find their way home, though with delays, for the 22,000 employees, the collapse comes as a final end to an iconic British brand. Unions representing the Thomas Cook staff had urged the British government to intervene, however, the increasing debt burden of 1.25 billion pounds, higher fuel and hotel costs, and uncertainty over Brexit that hurt demand for summer holiday travel did the business in. Its collapse will however not affect Thomas Cook (India), which is a completely different entity, having been acquired by Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings in August 2012.