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No impact of Thomas Cook collapse on UAE operations

No impact, Thomas Cook, collapse, UAE operations
A Thomas Cook plane taxis on the runway.-AP

Dubai - The world's oldest travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed on Monday.

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 24 Sep 2019, 3:57 PM

Thomas Cook operations in the UAE have not been affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook UK operations.
Al Rostamani Travels used to represent Thomas Cook UK previously but later it tied up with Thomas Cook India, which is owned by Fairfax Financial Holdings Canada and is not a part of Thomas Cook UK.
"We used to be Thomas Cook Al Rostamani. However, we now have tied up with Thomas Cook India which is not under Thomas Cook UK. We have not been affected by the UK crisis because since 2012, the UAE operations are no longer under the UK company. Hence, it business is usual here," a spokesperson for Al Rostamani told Khaleej Times.
Madhavan Menon, chairman and managing director of Thomas Cook India, told Khaleej Times in a telephonic interview that the entire shareholding that the UK-based Thomas Cook Plc had in Thomas Cook India was sold in 2012.
"We have not been part of Thomas Cook Plc since seven years. We have not done any business with Thomas Cook Plc in the last 2 years. We used to do just one part of the business where Thomas Cook Plc used to send tourists to India and we mutually agreed to discontinue," Menon said during the interview.
He ruled out any impact of tourists flow from the UK to India as Thomas Cook Plc had some chartered flights coming to Goa which was of insignificant numbers. "We don't even handle this chartered flights," he added.
"With the recent developments relating to the iconic British Travel Company, Thomas Cook PLC, being reported in the media, it is imperative to highlight that Thomas Cook India Group is a completely different entity since August 2012 when 77 per cent of the company was acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings," the Indian company said in a statement on its website.
The world's oldest travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed on Monday, stranding more than half a million holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history. It posted £1.5 billion net loss in the first-half of 2019.
It ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. Employing 21,000, it currently has 600,000 people abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation.
Over half a dozen major UK companies have collapsed over the last 28 years including banking giants Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Northern Rock in 2008, Automobile firm MG Rover Group in 2005, Equitable Life Assurance Society, Barings Bank, Bank of Credit and Commerce International and Polly Peck.
Peter Fankhauser, CEO of Thomas Cook UK, said the company has gone out of business after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders in frantic, knife-edge talks over the weekend.
"I apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years," Fankhauser said in a statement.
The company has been hit by $2.1 billion debt, which has piled up after a series of bad deals. It was also hit badly by the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, which is one of its top destinations, and heatwave which hit Europe in 2018 and forced travellers to revise their travel plans.
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured stranded British travellers that they would be brought home. He stressed that the government rejected Thomas Cook UK bailout of $187 million because of moral hazard.
"It is a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers of Thomas Cook. We will do our level best to get them home," said Johnson.
- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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