178 year old travel company leaves travelers in Orlando stranded.
Thomas Cook Travel Company, one of the world's oldest tour companies according to the New York Times, announced September 22nd that it was no longer in operation. The company's website says "Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver. The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled."
This sudden and unexpected announcement left travelers in the lurch in Orlando and around the world. Thomas Cook no longer has staff located on-site at Orlando International Airport. In total, the airline had 41 flight operations scheduled between September 24 and Oct. 12 at Orlando International that have been cancelled.
Orlando International Airport released a statement Monday giving a general idea of their efforts towards getting people back to their homes.
Two charter flights returned passengers to the United Kingdom as recovery efforts began from the closing of the company's airline. The first relief flight that took travelers back was Virgin Atlantic at 5:25 p.m. for Manchester, England. The second, with Atlas Air, at 5:35 p.m for Glasgow, Scotland.
Repatriation flights will continue to operate through October 6th as the British government works with Atlas Air, Virgin Atlantic and other United Kingdom carriers to assist in taking passengers back home.
Representatives from the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority have maintained close communication with the local British Consulate to ensure there is a seamless process when it comes to arranging any additional flights or scheduling charter flights during this transition.
Thomas Cook has served MCO since 2014, averaging between two and 16 flights per week depending on the time of year. The airline offered service to and from Orlando to destinations like Manchester, London and Glasgow.
During the last 12 months, Thomas Cook operated more than 900 flights at MCO, carrying approximately 267,000 passengers and a fleet of Airbus A330-200 aircraft.