Hays Travel to take over 555 Thomas Cook shops

  • Hays Travel to take over 555 Thomas Cook shops

Hays Travel to take over 555 Thomas Cook shops

Hays struck the deal for its shops with a court-appointed official receiver and special managers from KPMG.

Chairperson Irene Hays said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the United Kingdom and the global travel industry".

"This plan could provide hundreds of available jobs for Thomas Cook employees who were displaced by the closure of the branches".

The travel and cruise industries have been devastated following the news of the Thomas Cook collapse a couple of weeks ago, which left 150,000 holidaymakers stranded overseas and 20,000 staff, including 9,000 in the United Kingdom, jobless.

Up to 100 new jobs will be based at Hays' Sunderland headquarters and the purchase will nearly triple the firm's retail network.

Hays Travel has already employed more than 25% of the former Thomas Cook retail employees and is proposing to re-open the stores with immediate effect where possible and to take on up to 2,500 people.

John and Irene Hays, who started their business Hays Travel in Sunderland in England's north-east, paid an undisclosed amount for leasing the shops of the 178-year-old Thomas Cook business at 11.53pm (UK time) on Tuesday, Hays Travel said in a statement. Due to the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook's loss of 9,000 people, most of their work in the United Kingdom.

"The web was their (Thomas Cook's) enemy, whereas a Hays Travel member of staff would say the web was their friend", he said.

The country's largest independent travel agent, which also operates Just Go Travel, has bought all 555 stores, providing re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former employees of Thomas Cook's retail operations.

Wednesday's announcement was welcomed by the British government and travel industry trade union the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA).

The Official Liquidator, when asked by AFP about the outlook for the sale of Thomas Cook's remaining assets, declined to comment - but added they would be sold "in the best interests" of its creditors.

United Kingdom airline Easyjet has hinted that it could be interested in some of Thomas Cook's air operations, as the low-priced carrier already serves some of its destinations. A year ago the company reached £1bn in sales. Its biggest shareholder was China's Fosun Group.