Travel firm offers reassurance to Thomas Cook customers and sets up helpline

Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of this morning. Picture: PA

Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of this morning. Picture: PA - Credit: Archant

Premier Travel has set up an emergency helpline to support customers who have booked holidays with Thomas Cook - which ceased trading this morning (Monday).

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the tour operator has "ceased trading with immediate effect", putting more than 20,000 jobs at risk worldwide and triggering the biggest ever peacetime repatriation.

More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge.

Following the CAA statement, Premier Travel, which has branches in Huntingdon and St Ives, has said it will ensure any of its customers who have a booking through Thomas Cook, both in resort and due to travel, are "looked after".

It has also confirmed that "all customers that have Thomas Cook bookings through Premier Travel are 100 per cent financially protected".

Premier Travel has set up an emergency team at its head office in Cambourne to co-ordinate the efforts to contact all affected customers, both in resort and due to travel with Thomas Cook, to advise them of alternative arrangements.

In a statement the company said: "Premier Travel have been monitoring the situation closely over the last few days and as such are fully prepared with details of customers currently overseas and those who are due to depart."

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Paul Waters, director at Premier Travel, said: "Our customers and their travel plans are of the utmost importance to us at this time and our priority is communicating with them to reduce the impact of this failure.

"Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all of our colleagues and friends within the Thomas Cook Group at this time and all customers whose holidays are affected. Thomas Cook have been operating since 1841 and have been a huge supporter of independent travel agents since their inception and will be greatly missed."

Meanwhile, Shailesh Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, where Thomas Cook has its headquarters, said: "Today is a very sad day with the collapse of an iconic UK company that has been trading for 178 years as well as the threat to 9,000 UK jobs of which 1,200 are in my constituency where the company's headquarters are based. I will be doing all that I can to assist those affected.

"In the meantime, having spoken with Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary and Andrea Leadsom, the Business Secretary, I am assured that detailed preparations are in place to ensure the safe return of the 160,000 holidaymakers which are currently abroad."

INF0: Customers with any concerns are asked to contact their local branch or telephone 0800 3164 379.