Holidaymakers in limbo as they await news on Thomas Cook crisis
PUBLISHED: 11:22 22 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:22 22 September 2019
Suffolk travellers are anxiously waiting to hear if they will be able to jet off on long-planned holidays, or be able to fly home as planned, as the future of tour operator Thomas Cook hangs in the balance.
The troubled holiday company is today in talks with key players in a final bid to piece together a possible rescue deal.
Without it, the company could be forced into administration, causing major concern for those who have booked trips with them and those mid-way through their breaks.
The company operates high street travel stores in Tavern Street, Ipswich, Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, Wilkes Way, Stowmarket and North Street, Sudbury as well as having branches in Bury St Edmunds' Cornhill and Market Place, Diss, London Road North, Lowestoft and Market Place, Great Yarmouth.
In north Essex, there are branches in Braintree, Witham, Colchester and Harwich.
As the crisis deepened, holidaymakers at a hotel in Tunisia last night reported being locked in by security guards as management demanded extra money over fears Thomas Cook would not settle the bill.
The travel company must find £200 million in extra funds to stay afloat.
A collapse would leave up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers stranded and the Government is being urged to step in to help save the business.
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Thomas Cook continued to reassure worried customers on last night that their flights continue to operate as normal and all their package holidays are ATOL-protected.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents workers at the company, said the Government should be ready to assist with "real financial support".
General Secretary Manuel Cortes called for an urgent meeting with Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom.
He said in a letter: "It is incumbent upon the Government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it.
"Thomas Cook can be a highly successful business and must be given every opportunity to flourish. I urge you to stand ready to assist Thomas Cook with real financial support.
"The company must be rescued no matter what. No British government in its right mind would countenance the loss of so many jobs and the prospect of just one major travel operator - TUI - controlling the mass market."
A Government spokesman said: "We recognise it's a worrying time for holidaymakers and employees.
"The financial circumstances of individual businesses are a commercial matter, but the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are monitoring the situation closely."
- Are you affected by the possible collapse of Thomas Cook? Have you booked your holiday through the company or are you one of those affected in Tunisia? Contact us with your story via email