Hero Thomas Cook staff turn up to work to help people stuck abroad

Thomas Cook staff are opening up stores to help customers following the collapse of the travel company this morning.

A dedicated former employee tweeted she was turning up to work to advise people who had booked a holiday with the firm.

Lucy wrote on Twitter: ‘Officially unemployed. Devastated beyond words.

‘Even after us ceasing trading, I will be at my branch at 9am to help my customers with any questions.’

She added she was proud to have worked for the travel firm and was hoping customers would get refunds and their holidays rebooked.

A store in Southend also said it would open today, with a sign in the window saying customers would be let in at 9.30am.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Thomas Cook had ceased trading, its four airlines will be grounded, and its 21,000 employees in 16 countries, including 9,000 in the UK, will lose their jobs.

The firm collapsed early today after failing to secure emergency funding, leaving 150,000 British customers stranded abroad.

The return of British people currently on holiday with the company will be the largest repatriation in UK peacetime history.

The Civil Aviation Authority said it had arranged an aircraft fleet for the complex British repatriation effort, which is expected to last two weeks.

‘Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavor to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates,’ the aviation authority said in a statement.

Thomas Cook previously blamed a slowdown in bookings because of Brexit uncertainty for contributing to its crushing debt burden.

It said Friday it was seeking £200 million to avoid going bust and was in weekend talks with shareholders and creditors to stave off failure.

Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said in a statement read outside the company’s offices this morning he deeply regrets the shutdown.

He said: ‘Despite huge efforts over a number of months and further intense negotiations in recent days we have not been able to secure a deal to save our business.

‘I know that this outcome will be devastating to many people and will cause a lot of anxiety, stress and disruption.’

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