Thomas Cook Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Thomas Cook Group plc
Traded asFWBTCG
IndustryHospitality, tourism
PredecessorThomas Cook & Son
Thomas Cook AG
MyTravel Group plc
HeadquartersLondon, England, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Frank Meysman Non-Executive Chairman Peter Fankhauser (CEO)
ProductsCharter and scheduled passenger airlines, package holidays, cruise lines, hotels and resorts
ServicesTravel agencies
Revenue£9,584 million (2018)[1]
£250 million (2018)[1]
£(163) million (2018)[1]

Thomas Cook Group plc is a British global travel company. It was formed on 19 June 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG, itself the successor to Thomas Cook & Son, and MyTravel Group plc. The group owns a number of tour operators including Thomas Cook, Airtours, Ving and Neckermann, as well as Thomas Cook Airlines, Condor, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics. It is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.



In February 2007, it was announced that Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc were to merge. The companies announced they expected to make savings of over £75 million a year, following the integration of both businesses. Under the terms of the merger, the owners of Thomas Cook AG, KarstadtQuelle (later Arcandor), owned 52% of the new group. The shareholders of MyTravel Group owned the remaining 48% share.[2] The merger was completed in June 2007,[3] and took place through the formation of 'NewCo' which effectively purchased MyTravel and Thomas Cook and was then listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name of Thomas Cook Group plc.[4]


Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321
Thomas Cook travel agency , Cross Gates, Leeds in 2014
Thomas Cook travel agency in Wetherby in 2017

On 14 February 2008, Thomas Cook bought booking website for £21.8 million.[5] On 6 March 2008, the company bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook brand in the Middle East and Asia from the Dubai Investment Group for an amount estimated to be around 249 million euros.[6] In April 2008 Thomas Cook bought the luxury travel firm Elegant Resorts from its founders Geoff Moss and Barbara Catchpole for an undisclosed figure.[7] The company took over Preston-based Gold Medal International, owner of NetFlights, in a deal worth £87 million in December 2008.[8]

On 8 March 2009 Thomas Cook signed a deal with Octopus Media Technology to host, upload, and provide an online video player for Thomas Cook TV.[9] In Spring 2009 Thomas Cook UK signed a deal with International Entertainment Supplier The E3 Group, to exclusively supply entertainment to the group.[10] In June 2009, Thomas Cook's majority shareholder Arcandor filed for bankruptcy, although the group was not affected.[11] Arcandor's shares in Thomas Cook were sold by its creditor banks in September 2009.[12]


In July 2010, Thomas Cook Group bought German tourism company Öger Tours, which was owned by Vural Öger.[13]

In 2010, the Thomas Cook Group reached an agreement with The Co-operative Group to merge its branch network with that of The Co-operative Travel. The merger was approved by the Competition Commission in 2011, and the joint venture was 66.5% owned by the Thomas Cook Group, 30% owned by The Co-operative Group and 3.5% owned by the Midlands Co-operative (renamed the Central England Co-operative in 2014).[14] The merger created the UK's largest travel network.[15] Thomas Cook's Going Places branded branches were rebranded under the Co-operative's brand.[16]

On 22 November 2011, Thomas Cook shares lost about three quarters of their value on the London Stock Exchange after the company announced it was in talks with its banks to increase borrowing by some £100 million, but the shares recovered somewhat the following day. There were also reports that the company was planning to close 200 of its 1,200 travel agencies and foreign exchange offices.[17]

In May 2012, Harriet Green was appointed as the chief executive officer of Thomas Cook Group,[18] succeeding Manny Fontenla-Novoa who was CEO from 2003 until August 2011. On 1 July 2013, Thomas Cook announced that it would cease publishing the Thomas Cook European Timetable, along with closure of the rest of its publishing business. The final edition of the timetable was published in August 2013,[19] but publication resumed in early 2014 under a new publishing company not affiliated with Thomas Cook.[20]

In February 2014 Thomas Cook Group sold Gold Medal Travel including to dnata for a reported £45 million.[21] On 26 November 2014, it was announced that Green was leaving with immediate effect, and that Peter Fankhauser, the COO would take over as CEO.[22]

2016 onwards[edit]

In 2016 the Co-operative Group decided that it would exercise its option to quit the branch network joint venture. Thomas Cook Group announced it would buy out the stakes in The Co-operative Travel owned by The Co-operative Group and Central England Co-operative, taking full control of the retail network and re-branding the high street travel stores that had operated under the Co-operative brand gradually during 2017–18.[23][24]

In March 2017, Thomas Cook announced the sale of its Belgian airline operations to Lufthansa. As a result, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium was shut down by November 2017 with two aircraft and all traffic rights being handed to Brussels Airlines. Its three remaining aircraft were relocated to sister companies.[25][26]

In August 2018, a British couple, John and Susan Cooper aged 69 and 63 respectively, died on a Thomas Cook holiday, while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. According to the Egyptian authorities, John died of a heart attack and Susan died out of shock.[27] The couple's daughter, also present at the resort blamed the faulty air conditioning system at the resort. Thomas Cook hurriedly evacuated around 300 holidaymakers staying in the same hotel after other guests started to fall ill.[28]

In November 2018 business analysts suggested that Thomas Cook should split the business to help recover its financial health.[29] The Financial Times newspaper said in February 2019 that the Thomas Cook Group had received bids for its airline business, which includes Condor, and also the company as a whole.[30] In April 2019 the company hired the restructuring specialist Alix Partners to work on the company's balance sheet and implement cost restructuring plans to help reduce its £1.6 billion debt.[31] In May 2019 the company reported that it had secured £300 million of emergency funding from its banks.[32] In June 2019 Thomas Cook said that it was in talks with the Chinese company Fosun International with regard to the possible sale of its tour operator business.[33]

2006 Carbon monoxide poisoning[edit]

In October 2006, two young British children, Christianne and Robert Shepherd aged seven and six years old respectively, died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty boiler while on a holiday in Corfu booked through Thomas Cook.[34] They were the first such deaths in the company's history.[35] Two Thomas Cook employees were subsequently amongst 11 defendants facing manslaughter by negligence charges at a criminal trial in Greece in 2010 – both were acquitted and the company was cleared of any wrongdoing.[36]

In 2015, a UK inquest was held into the children's deaths; the jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing and concluded that the travel group had “breached its duty of care”.[37][38]

After the inquest, The Mail on Sunday published a news story saying that Thomas Cook had received £3m from the owners of the hotel where the children's deaths had occurred.[39] In response, Thomas Cook made a charitable donation of £1.5m to Unicef. However, the children's family said that they had not been consulted about this donation, which itself became the subject of criticism.[40] In UK newspaper The Independent Joanna Bourke wrote: "Nothing Thomas Cook could ever do would bring back the two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on a Greek holiday in 2006. But the firm's handling of the case has been a lesson in how not to manage a crisis".[39]


At the time of the merger, 52% of the shares in the new company were held by the German mail-order and department store company Arcandor (the former owner of Thomas Cook AG) and 48% owned by the shareholders of MyTravel Group. Arcandor filed for bankruptcy in June 2009,[11] and its shares in Thomas Cook were sold in September 2009.[12] Thomas Cook Group plc's three major shareholders as of June 2016 were Invesco (19%), Standard Life Investments Ltd (10%), and the business magnate and investor, Guo Guangchang (7.03%). The remainder of the stock floats freely.[41] In February 2019 the Group announced a strategic review that would consider the future role of the airline.[42]


Thomas Cook Group operates in two divisions, Tour Operator and Thomas Cook Group Airline.[43] With a joint fleet, at merger, of 105 aircraft,[44] 2,926 stores, 32,722 employees, and over 19.1 million annual customers, the new group became the second largest travel company in Europe and the UK, behind Thomson Travel which later became TUI Travel. In 2017, Jet2holidays overtook Thomas Cook to become the second-largest tour operator in the UK, moving Thomas Cook into third place.[45] On 22 March 2019, Thomas Cook announced that it would be closing 21 stores across the country an cutting more than 300 jobs. The shop closures would take the number of Thomas Cook outlets down to 566.[46]


Thomas Cook has been a main sponsor of Manchester City and Peterborough United football clubs. On 22 May 2009, Manchester City announced that the six-year partnership with Thomas Cook would conclude at the end of the 2008/09 Premier League Season.[47] Thomas Cook was a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As one of the UK's biggest and most popular providers of package holidays, Thomas Cook was appointed to provide "affordable and accessible" holidays and accommodation throughout the games.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2018" (PDF). Thomas Cook Group. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  2. ^ "MyTravel and Thomas Cook merging". BBC News. 12 February 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Annual Report & Accounts 2007" (PDF). Thomas Cook Group. 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  4. ^ "UK High Court backs MyTravel, Thomas Cook merger". Forbes. 18 June 2007. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  5. ^ Monaghan, Angela (14 February 2008). "Thomas Cook buys travel website hotels4U". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Thomas Cook Group buys businesses in India and Middle East". travelweekly. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Thomas Cook buys Elegant Resorts" BBC News 7 April 2008
  8. ^ Thomas Cook buys Gold Medal International Manchester Evening News, 18 December 2008
  9. ^ Tentacles everywhere Archived 6 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine UKTI Article
  10. ^ "E3 Group expands into stage schools franchise market". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Germany's Arcandor in bankruptcy". BBC News. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  12. ^ a b Scuffham, Matt (9 September 2009). "Arcandor banks launch Thomas Cook share placement". Reuters. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  13. ^ Thomas Cook acquires Turkish travel specialist Öger Tours Hürriyet Daily News, 7 December 2010
  14. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (21 July 2011). "Thomas Cook and Co-operative merger given provisional go ahead". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  15. ^ Landmark deal to create the UK's largest travel retail network (retrieved 8 October 2010 Archived 12 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine)
  16. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (21 July 2011). "Thomas Cook and Co-operative merger given provisional go ahead". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Thomas Cook shares bounce back after Tuesday's plunge". BBC News. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  18. ^ "Thomas Cook appoints Harriet Green as chief executive". BBC News. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  19. ^ Calder, Simon (1 July 2013). "Thomas Cook's European Rail timetable reaches end of the line". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  20. ^ Cassidy, Nigel (7 March 2014). "Back on schedule: Europe's InterRail timetable is re-born". BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Thomas Cook agrees sale of Gold Medal". Travel Weekly News. 11 February 2014.
  22. ^ Farrell, Sean (26 November 2014). "Thomas Cook shares crash amid shock departure of Harriet Green". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  23. ^ Jillian Ambrose (6 December 2016). "Thomas Cook to take over Co-op travel stores". The Telegraph.
  24. ^ Simon Gwynn (6 December 2016). "Co-operative Travel to disappear from high street as Thomas Cook confirms full takeover". Campaign. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  25. ^ - "Thomas Cook hands Belgian airline business to Lufthansa" (German) 30 March 2017
  26. ^ "Brussels Airlines to absorb Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Thomas Cook hotel guests to be removed after Egypt deaths". BBC. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  28. ^ "British couple 'fit and healthy' before deaths on Thomas Cook holiday as 300 evacuated from Egyptian hotel". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Thomas Cook could be split up, Barclays suggests as it slashes target price". 28 November 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  30. ^ "Why Thomas Cook thinks a £1bn airline deal is just the ticket". FT. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Bidders diving in for Thomas Cook talks as it works with company 'doctors' to fix its finances". This is Money. 20 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Thomas Cook crisis escalates as it lands £300m in emergency funding". The Telegraph. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  33. ^ Myles McCormick (10 June 2019). "Thomas Cook in talks with Fosun to sell tour operator business". Financial Times.
  34. ^ "Corfu gas death family secures legal aid for inquest". BBC News. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  35. ^ Hayhurst, Lee (5 May 2015). "Corfu deaths 'could happen again', Cooper tells inquest". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  36. ^ "Thomas Cook staff cleared over Corfu child deaths". BBC News. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  37. ^ "Corfu children's deaths: Thomas Cook 'breached duty of care'". BBC News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  38. ^ Trend, Nick (14 May 2015). "Corfu carbon monoxide tragedy: Can we trust tour operators with our safety?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  39. ^ a b Bourke, Joanna (19 May 2015). "Carbon monoxide deaths: From a tragedy to a corporate disaster for Thomas Cook". The Independent. London. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  40. ^ Khomami, Nadia (19 May 2015). "Corfu holiday deaths: family not consulted over Thomas Cook donation". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  41. ^ "Thomas Cook Group Plc".
  42. ^ "Thomas Cook might sell airline to raise cash, shares climb".
  43. ^ "Full year results announcement for the year ended 30 September 2018" (PDF). Thomas Cook Group. 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  44. ^ "Thomas Cook Group Airline with larger fleet in Summer 2019 for profitable growth". Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  45. ^ "Page not found - UK Civil Aviation Authority". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Thomas Cook to close stores and cut jobs". 22 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  47. ^ "Fond farewell to Thomas Cook". Manchester City F.C. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  48. ^ London 2012 Olympics: 200,000 spare tickets still to be sold The Daily Telegraph (London), 16 July 2012

External links[edit]