London: British travel group Thomas Cook on Monday declared bankruptcy after failing to reach a last-ditch rescue deal, triggering the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back stranded passengers. The 178-year-old operator had been desperately seeking $250 million from private investors to save it from collapse.
“Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the company’s stakeholders and proposed new money providers,” Thomas Cook said in a statement. “The company’s board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.” The government said it had hired planes to fly home an estimated 1,50,000 holidaymakers to the UK, in an operation starting on Monday. “Following the collapse of Thomas Cook and the cancellation of all its flights, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the government and UK Civil Aviation Authority has hired dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge,” a separate statement said.