One of the world’s oldest tour companies, Thomas Cook, will be brought back to life thanks to a buy-out from British travel firm Hays Travel.
The unexpected collapse of Thomas Cook, a major player in the British travel industry, caused chaos in the global travel industry. The company was placed in compulsory liquidation on September 23rd, forcing the company to announce its closures as some of its planes were still in the air. Thousands of vacationers were suddenly left stranded in far-flung destinations, requiring the British government to intervene.
“Around 90 percent of Thomas Cook passengers have now been repatriated and we will continue to work around the clock to support the final passengers’ return to the UK,” said Richard Moriarty, the chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
Meanwhile, the financial ramifications of the company’s closure have been felt around the globe. The European Union has already agreed to bailout one of its subsidiaries, Condor, to prevent a further loss of jobs on the continent. The Spanish tourism industry, meanwhile, was sent into a panic, as Thomas Cook was present in nearly every corner of it.
Questions still remain over what exactly caused the sudden collapse of an industry giant. Some have blamed poor management, while others attributed its downfall to Britain’s impending departure from the European Union. Some British newspapers and members of Parliament have called for a government investigation into Thomas Cook’s practices to determine to true cause of the firm’s collapse.
Despite all this, however, many Thomas Cook employees were overjoyed at the company’s purchase by Hays Travel. The buyout is expected to have saved at least 2,500 jobs initially, and the company’s owners have pledged to try and save more.
Hays Travel is owned by John and Irene Hays, whose business model has been sound enough that British government regulators fast-tracked the acquisition on the basis of the Hays’ financial competence. The couple claims that they will remodel the company after their own, with themselves as co-owners rather than stockholders or a board of directors. John and Irene Hays have also promised to give their employees a more equal share of profits and more power in business operations.
“There have been lots of stories about Thomas Cook being a bad example of capitalism—corporate greed, excessive overheads and excessive debt,” says John. “A lot of that is justified. We’ve got a very different form of capitalism. We own the business between us, we’re owner-managers who empower our staff and we’ve got no debt.”
For more information, visit haystravel.org.