Thomas Cook currently travels around 600,000 tourists worldwide, half of them in Germany and a quarter in Great Britain.
Thousands of customers are hostages to hotels because Thomas Cook has not paid their bills.
Nightly financial negotiations with owners and corporate creditors ended without success. The company says its operations in the UK have ceased and all future flights and vacations have been canceled. "The board concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to initiate immediate compulsory liquidation," the company said in a recent statement.
The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that it will launch the largest peacetime operation to bring home nearly 150,000 British holidaymakers worldwide. The agency is in talks with a number of airlines, with more than a dozen aircraft returning, including the Boeing 747 and Airbus 380.
According to a notice published on the CAA website, new flights will be offered to foreign tourists whose flight was supposed to be with Thomas Cook, but will only operate until October 6. People who have flown back to the UK after that date must make their own trip.
Thomas Cook owns Tjäreborg, Finland's third largest travel agency in Finland. There are currently 3400 Finns on their trips. Tjäreborg states on its website that the travel of its customers is protected by the Package Travel Act and the deposit.
The Thomas Cook group also includes other Nordic travel companies, such as Ving in Norway and Sweden, and Spies in Denmark, which are either the largest or the first in their country. Unlike the parent company, they and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia remain profitable.
Thomas Cook also includes Condor, a holiday company in Germany. Thomas Cook's departures from Stockholm and Copenhagen have not been canceled, as are Condor flights. The various Thomas Cook companies have a total of 117 aircraft.
In August, the Chinese company Fosun acquired 75% of Thomas Cook's travel management business and a quarter of its aviation business, but its financial strength remained limited. 550 Thomas Cook travel agencies will close and 22,000 employees in 16 countries threaten to lose their jobs.
The history of Thomas Cook, a British tour operator, dates back to 1841, when Thomas Cook began to organize train tours, later touring Europe and the US.
With an annual turnover of almost € 10 billion, the Thomas Cook Group is such an important player in the tourism industry that its downturn is likely to have broader implications for the sector as a whole.