UK to repatriate 16,700 Thomas Cook customers on Saturday

28 September 2019 - 12:34 By Reuters
People use escalators next to a branch of Neckermann travel agency in Prague, Czech Republic, September 25, 2019.
People use escalators next to a branch of Neckermann travel agency in Prague, Czech Republic, September 25, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/David W Cerny

A further 16,700 customers of collapsed British travel firm Thomas Cook are scheduled to be repatriated on Saturday on 76 flights, the country's aviation regulator said.

The Civil Aviation Authority said it has so far brought back more than half of the total number of affected customers since it launched the country's largest peacetime repatriation on Monday. 

Thomas Cook's Polish business Neckermann Polska said on Wednesday it was insolvent as the effects of the demise of the world's oldest travel firm spread to central Europe, leaving around 3,600 Polish tourists stuck abroad.

Thomas Cook, which started life in 1841 running local rail excursions and grew to pioneer package holidays, collapsed early on Monday stranding hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.

"The Polish unit, despite its stable financial condition, cannot operate independently without its mother company," Neckermann Polska said in a statement.

"The problems of our owner on the British and German markets are the cause of the liquidation of operating activities in many global markets, including Poland."

Thomas Cook's German division also filed for insolvency on Wednesday, with a view to carving out its brands and businesses from their failed parent.

Authorities in Poland's Mazowieckie region, which includes the capital Warsaw, told a news conference around 3,600 tourists who had bought Neckermann Polska holidays were currently abroad.

"The biggest group of tourists remains in the Mediterranean basin, we have the biggest problems in Majorca, Turkey and Tunisia," Izabela Stelmanska, director of the department for culture, promotion and tourism for the Mazowieckie region told a news conference.

"We are examining cases where firstly we should help tourists by ensuring they can stay until their planned return date and where it will be necessary to arrange an earlier return to the country."

Neckermann Polska employs around 140 people, it said.