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Article from BTNews 5 DECEMBER 2011

Thomas Cook faces an uphill task

Whilst clearly not catering for the business travel market the current problems of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, will have an effect on both airline and hotel bookings around the world.  Although Thomas Cook Airlines caters in the main for the holidaymaker, with around 40 aircraft and eight million passengers carried last year, it is a substantial operator and Britain’s fourth largest air carrier.

Rapidly running out of cash Thomas Cook said that its banks, led by Barclays, HSBC, RBS and UniCredit, had agreed to provide a new £200m facility available until April 2013.  It replaces a £100m announced just a few weeks earlier.

Thomas Cook faces an uphill task to restore the confidence of customers and investors ahead of the new year booking season after revealing a 30% drop in UK sales in the days following news of its financial troubles.

The company is still without a new chief executive after industry veteran Manny Fonenla-Novoa quit in August.

It has been hit hard by tough trading conditions, especially in Britain, where its core family customer base has been particularly affected by tough economic conditions.  Serious unrest in popular destinations such as Egypt and Tunisia has not helped. www.thomascookairlines.co.uk

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