Boris Johnson lashed out at Thomas Cook bosses as the troubled holiday firm fell into administration and even though the Prime Minister promised to rescue holidaymakers who were confronted with being stranded across the globe in what’s thought to be the biggest ever peacetime repatriation of British citizens.
But one way or another the state was going to have to step in and quite rightly so but even so, it was a pretty stressful situation and in a stern message to the firm’s management, Boris Johnson stated that one was forced to ponder on whether the directors of these companies were properly incentivised to sort such matters out and visibly discouraged with the unfolding situation, and Boris Johnson indicated that there would be no government bailout for the world’s oldest holiday firm.
And he verified that the firm had asked a £150 million government bailout to keep it from sinking into bankruptcy and clearly that’s a lot of taxpayers money and sets up a moral hazard in the case of such future commercial problems that companies encounter and he said that we need to look at ways in which tour operatives can protect themselves from such insolvencies in the future.
And clearly, the methods that we have in position to guarantee that businesses like Thomas Cook don’t end up coming to the taxpayer for assistance.
People were warned that a vote for Brexit would see firms collapse and people would lose their jobs and this is just the latest example, caused by the drowning pound. Of course, Tories and Leavers refuse to see the connection.
Of course the pound sinking was happening way before the referendum and Thomas Cook was in crisis way before that but of course, Brexit isn’t helping the situation and what a strange idiom Boris used “moral hazard,” and it must be a moral hazard that keeps Boris Johnson in office.
Of course, Thomas Cook employees will walk away with diddly squat and won’t it cost more to bring everyone home than it would have to bail the firm out? But then if they were bailed out, who in their right mind would book a holiday with them after what’s happened?
And if our government did bail them out, should we then bail out every large company that’s in threat of going under? But we should feel for those whose holidays have been overshadowed or lost by what’s now happened but it’s only a holiday, what about those 22,000 plus whose livelihoods are now lost? This is the real tragedy when companies go under big or small it’s the workforce that bears the brunt of it.
And come hell or high water, the aviation authority will get all these people on holiday home, not Boris Johnson and for customers who booked their holiday with Thomas Cook or one of its Group companies, Thomas Cooks Plc has stopped trading and ABTA’s immediate plan is to assist customers to understand what actions they need to take if they’re currently away on holiday or if they have booked travel arrangements with the company.
Thomas Cook Group Plc operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements, including five companies that are ABTA Members:
- Thomas Cook Retail Limited – ABTA W8361, J8601 & ATOL 0020
- Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited – ABTA V6896 & ATOL 1179
- TCCT Retail Limited – ABTA Y6564, L8164 & ATOL 10585
- Future Travel Limited – ABTA W6370, G856X & ATOL 5704
- Freedom Travel Group Limited – ABTA W6417, G8381 & ATOL 6042
The Group further included an airline business which isn’t a member of ABTA but the vast preponderance of holidaymaker’s arrangements are covered through various kinds of financial protection and the majority of flight packages are covered by ATOL plus a smaller volume are packaged without flights and accommodation which is covered by ABTA.
Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook airlines are not covered by ATOL or ABTA so customers would have to contact their card issuer.
There are a number of different companies involved, with varying types of arrangements and what customers should do will depend on whether they’re currently away or have a forward booking, who they booked with, and what they booked.
Customers who are currently overseas on a flight package holiday will be financially protected under the ATOL scheme and should contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who will advise on return flight arrangements and customers who are currently overseas on a package holiday that doesn’t include a flight are protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal.
Customers who are currently overseas and staying in accommodation booked through Thomas Cook Tour Operations are financially protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal but customers who are currently overseas and have booked a flight directly with the Thomas Cook Airline, or who have booked accommodation via Thomas Cook Retail with a third party, for example, Expedia are not financially protected.
For flights, they should contact the CAA in the first instance and for accommodation, they should contact the company specified on the travel documents and if you’ve booked a package holiday through a Thomas Cook Group retail company, but that holiday is provided by another travel company, then people should contact the travel company to check that the arrangements will proceed as normal.
Customers who have booked a Thomas Cook package holiday or accommodation through a Thomas Cook Group retail company (Thomas Cook, TCCT Retail Limited, Future Travel Limited or Freedom Travel Group Limited) these holidays will not go ahead, and you’ll be entitled to a refund.
If you’ve booked a Thomas Cook package holiday through another travel company, you should contact that company to discuss alternatives which may include re-booking or making alternative arrangements but if you’ve booked flights from Thomas Cook Airlines Limited, these are not covered by ATOL or ABTA protection, so people will need to pursue a claim through their card issuer.
Of course, if it was a bank and Boris Johnson and his pampered mates stood to lose money, he would have skipped right in and bailed them out but the problem with helping out Thomas Cook is that it’s not the responsibility of government, the problem lies heavily with the top management of Thomas Cook.
Companies like this don’t suddenly go bust, their management would have known about this for months, yet took a blatant couldn’t care less approach towards it and of course, we understand the argument about the moral hazards of bailing private companies out with taxpayers money, but, this is just another example of Boris Johnson’s questionable perception of morals.
Especially when there were tensions and uncertainties of the developing Brexit debacle for companies like Thomas Cook. With added costs throughout their sector and problems in planning without knowing what the deal was going to be or when.
But then if parliament can stump up the funds for the Royals, banks like RBS and the buildings of parliament to be renovated at hundreds of millions of pounds then why not save the jobs of thousands of people and one of the best holiday and flight firms in the world?