The unthinkable has happened. The 178-year-old British tour operator Thomas Cook has collapsed after last-minute efforts to keep it afloat fell through.
As the operator enters liquidation, the ripple effects of this catastrophic collapse resulted in the stranding over 150,000 United Kingdom (UK) holidaymakers as all flights and holidays booked have been cancelled with immediate effect.
Apart from ruining the holiday plans of those abroad, the tour operator’s failure has put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide.
The UK government is scrambling to bring these stranded travellers in what is said to be the biggest peacetime repatriation operation. As many as 45 jets have been charted by the authorities to bring stranded customers home.
The operation has been dubbed Operation Matterhorn with operators with the likes of easyJet and Virgin lending a hand by supplying their aircraft and jets with originating as far as Malaysia.
Thomas Cook was a company from a bygone era when travel agents handled every detail of travel from the airline and hotel bookings and car rentals. It is now another casualty of a rapidly changing world changed by technology and the Internet with information and platforms readily available to enable the average traveller to book all aspects of their holiday themselves.