The collapse of Thomas Cook also brings down the curtains on its airline – Thomas Cook Airlines.
The airline used to be the preferred carrier for Britishers thronging the sunny beaches of Goa looking to avoid the harsh winters there. Thomas Cook Airlines used to operate flights from London's Gatwick and Manchester airports to Goa.
But now it has joined an already long list of airlines that have been grounded. In 2019 alone, more than a dozen airlines have ceased operations around the world. Jet Airways has just about managed to avoid the list, so far.
"The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are canceled," said a statement on its website, adding: "A dedicated support service is being provided by the Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings. "
The immediate impact will be on travelers and local tourist hotspots. While it is unclear how many tourists bound for Goa have booked on the airline, the local tourism economy may take a hit.
A report by IANS quoted chief of a local tourism body as saying that Thomas Cook Airlines would bring 2,000 tourists to Goa each week during the holiday season. In total, nearly 1.5 lakh tourists from Britain visited Goa last year.
For the airline itself, the immediate question will be about the fate of its stranded customers across the globe, the future of its employees, as well as what happens to its fleet. The airline has a fleet of 34 aircraft, all of which will now be parked at the airports where they are currently located.
According to reports, Thomas Cook Airlines owns just three of these aircraft. The rest have been leased.
Like in the case of Jet Airways, lessors will now seek to de-register these aircraft so they can lease the plans to other airlines again.
It might not be that simple though. Some of these airports, where the plans are parked, may try to take possession of these aircraft to recover unpaid payments from Thomas Cook Airlines.
Airlines graveyardAn aviation blog called Allplane has a list of airlines that have closed down. The 2019 list, which is still open, already has more than a dozen names. Thomas Cook Airlines is the latest entrant.
One of them – US-based California Pacific – lasted just two months before suspending operations in January. It is said to be trying to restart operations.
On the other hand, Tajik Air had been flying for nearly 90 years before it was grounded due to financial crunch. The national carrier of Tajikistan suffered because of a slowdown in the local economy. It operated its last flight on January 14.
It should be noted that Thomas Cook (India) ownership is different from its parent Thomas Cook Group and is not bound by bankruptcyGet access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.