September 23, 2019 10.10 am This story is over 33 months old

Two-year-old Lincoln Thomas Cook store closed in company collapse

The lights are on but no one is home

Staff at nine Thomas Cook shops in Lincolnshire, including the two-year-old Cornhill unit in Lincoln, will lose their jobs after the airline collapsed.

Britain’s oldest travel firm confirmed all the UK companies in its group, including Thomas Cook Airlines, have ceased trading. It happened after it failed to pay £200 million to creditors, causing around 150,000 Brits to be stranded in various destinations around the world.

All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed. Thomas Cook has nine shops in Lincolnshire – Lincoln, Boston, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Spalding, Sleaford, Grantham, Stamford and Skegness.

The exact number of jobs lost has not yet been made public by the firm.

After 9.30am on Monday, September 23 the lights were on but nobody was home at the Lincoln store. The door was locked and no staff appeared to be inside.

The lights are on, but nobody is home. Photo: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite

It’s a blow for the Cornhill Quarter, where the newly redeveloped unit will stand empty.

Some Lincoln people woke to the news their flights had been cancelled, with some going to the empty store looking for answers.

Leslie Hankins, 67, told The Lincolnite that he had paid nearly £1,000 for flights to Perth in Australia to visit his brother.

He said: “I am very frustrated about all of this. I just want to know what is happening with my flights.

“I have no idea where I can find the money to pay for more flights to see my brother. He moved over there in 1977 and I have been looking forward to seeing him.”

Leslie Hankins came to the Thomas Cook store with his flight folder. Photo: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite

Another couple, who did not want to be named also tried the door on the Thomas Cook building, before one of them said: “We were meant to go on holiday tomorrow. What can we do now?”

The Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK, with return flights, between September 23 and October 6. It is the UK CAA’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation.

However, all future holidays and flights booked with Thomas Cook are cancelled as of September 23, 2019. Customers in the UK yet to travel are advised not to go to the airport.

A statement from Thomas Cook said: “The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything we can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between September 23, 2019 and October 6, 2019. Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.

“If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your arrangements to get home on this website.

“If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel. This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers.”

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “News of Thomas Cook’s collapse is deeply saddening for the company’s employees and customers, and we appreciate that more than 150,000 people currently abroad will be anxious about how they will now return to the UK.

“The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers on what is the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation.

“We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world. The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home.”

Click here on this dedicated website here for further information.

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