“An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the Company before opening of business today and an order has been granted to appoint the Official Receiver as the liquidator of the Company,” it said in the statement.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, apologized to customers, employees, suppliers and partners.
“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world,” Fankhauser said.
The move is likely to trigger the largest ever peacetime repatriation of British nationals, topping the operation the government carried out after the 2017 collapse of Monarch Airlines.
Raab did say, however, the British government has a plan to bring home the 160,000 UK travelers possibly stranded by Thomas Cook’s collapse. Thomas Cook on Friday confirmed to CNN that it currently has 600,000 customers on vacation, including those 160,000 from the United Kingdom.
“We’ve got all the contingency planning to make sure no one will be stranded,” Raab said. “I don’t want to go into the detail of it because it depends on the nature of which people are out there, whether they’d booked a package or just paid for the flights.”
The development comes after a tumultuous year for Thomas Cook. Since May 2018, shares have fallen by more than 96% amid Brexit uncertainty and intense competition in the tourism sector.