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Thomas Cook jobs saved: Hays Travel takes over Thomas Cook stores

Sunday, October 13, 2019

At the end of September, Thomas Cook announced its bankruptcy leaving several thousand without a job and even more passengers stranded abroad. In operation Matterhorn, the British government brought back all 150.000 passengers who were left with booking confirmations for a company that no longer existed. However, today there is good news for some of Thomas Cook’s former employees. Hays Travel has secured all 555 Thomas Cook stores in the UK.

Thomas Cook stores takeover: Who is Hays Travel?

Thomas Cook will cease to operate and so all its high street stores will close. Nevertheless, it has recently come to light that the retail locations have been bought by a different travel agent. All stores will now operate under a different name and a different company. Hays Travel Limited is the UK’s largest independent travel agency, they have acquired all stores in order to expand their business.

Hays Travel was founded in 1980. Owned and run by John and Irene Hays, the agency employs over 1700 people with 190 shops across the UK. In 2018, the company had a turnover of £1 billion. They consider themselves to be an independent travel firm since they do not fall under any corporative structure.

Hays Travel takes over Thomas Cook: The facts

  • Hays Travel is the largest independent travel agency in the UK.
  • The company employs 1900 staff throughout the country.
  • Hays is looking to take over up to 2500 former Thomas Cook jobs
  • Thomas Cook stores will be refurbished and rebranded under ‘Hays Travel’
  • The travel company has already successfully recruited 400 former Thomas Cook employees.

Hundreds of Thomas Cook jobs saved through Hays Travel take over

In September, thousands of Thomas Cook employees found themselves unemployed from one day to another. 21.000 crew and staff had to accept the fact that their former employer was no more.

Despite how complicated the past few weeks have been for the affected, good news came on Wednesday! Hays Travel has declared that it would take over 2500 former Thomas Cook employees in their plan to expand their business with the acquisition of Thomas Cook stores. Staff were so grateful when they were told their jobs were safe that the news of the takeover was received with tears from Thomas Cook’s former staff.

More job openings have also been put on offer by Tui, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. This comes at a time when many ex-Thomas Cook employees have experienced uncertainty and worry regarding their pensions, wages and, moreover, their future.

Hays travel to take over Thomas Cook's stores

What Hays Travel could do better than Thomas Cook

When announcing the good news, John and Irene Hays mentioned the fact that their travel agency is free of debts, which may prove to be a considerable advantage during the takeover of some Thomas Cook assets. Additionally, they operate on a lower budget having their base in Sunderland.

The CEO of Hays Travel explained that the company’s business model was more appropriate for the digital age, now that most travel-related queries happen on the internet rather than customer visits to the stores. He also claimed “the web was their [Thomas Cook’s] enemy”, explaining that the bankrupted company refused to adapt to the digital age. Perhaps pointing towards theat fact as a relevant factor on why Thomas Cook wen into administration.

What Hays’s competitors think about the Thomas Cook takeover

According to some sources, Tui also registered an interest in some of Thomas Cook’s stores but was hesitant as it did not want to purchase locations in some cities in which they already had a dominant presence.

Thomas Cook’s airport slots at popular airports, such as Manchester and Gatwick, have also been the target of many airlines' intentions since the bankruptcy announcement. It is thought that these will get numerous bids.

British Airways has also made a move on Thomas Cook’s network. The British airline previously announced new destinations, for example from Gatwick to Antalya, that should commence from March 2020. This strategic move has been set up to begin moving into the spaces left in the market by Thomas Cook. Antalya was a key destination for Thomas Cook and will no doubt continue to see flights being operated in accordance with its popularity.

Has Thomas Cook bankruptcy created uncertainty towards package holidays and a possible threat to Hays Travel’s expansion?

Since the airline’s bankruptcy, there has been a rising discussion about package holidays and their future. The CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, recently pointed out that the package holiday market was “screwed” as he believes that there is no future for package holidays. However, since 2014, the number of UK holidaymakers that book a package deal has been steady, half of the nation’s travellers have decided to go for such a deal.

The uncertainty over the package holiday market will remain as there are also doubts amongst the wider travel market. Airlines are engaging in price wars and reduced demand and higher fuel costs, especially in times of Brexit, are fast approaching and should be considered.

Can I claim compensation for my Thomas Cook airlines flight?

According to the EU Regulation EC No 261/2004, the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook does not make you eligible for compensation. For more information please visit our article covering the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook. However, if you have suffered a delay or cancellation whilst flying from, to or within the EU, you may be entitled to compensation. Check your flight for free and find out!

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You can then choose to submit your claim with Flight-Delayed and we'll take care of claiming your compensation under our 25% no win, no fee basis. You only pay our 25% win fee if we are successfull. Furthermore, we're ready to take the airline to court if necessary at no extra cost!

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