Thomas Cook’s German, Polish units enter bankruptcy


A passenger walks past a closed Thomas Cook office at Palma de Mallorca airport on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. Spain’s airport operator AENA says that 46 flights have been affected by the collapse of the British tour company Thomas Cook, mostly in the Spanish Balearic and Canary archipelagos. (AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla)

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The German and Polish units of collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook said Wednesday they were entering bankruptcy proceedings and shutting down normal business operations in the wake of the parent company entering liquidation in Britain.

Germany’s Thomas Cook said it was working with the Foreign Ministry and a travel insolvency insurer to help stranded travelers get home.

The dpa news agency reported some 140,000 customers were currently travelling on trips purchased through the company.

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, ceased operations Monday, leaving hundreds of thousands stranded around the world.

German customers were referred to insurer Kaera, which said that customers could report costs for lodging and return trips through a website. Kaera said on its website that only package trips consisting of at least two elements, such as travel and lodging, were covered. Customers who booked only flight or only lodging weren’t covered, it said.

The head of German unit Thomas Cook GmbH, Stefanie Berk, said she hoped that some of the company’s operations, which include Neckermann, Oeger and Bucher travel brands, could soon resume operations. The company is seeking bridge financing from the government to keep operating while it restructures.

In Poland, Thomas Cook’s unit, Neckermann Polska, said Wednesday it was filing for bankruptcy. About 3,600 customers were on vacations outside of Poland. Polish regional authorities are responsible for helping stranded tourists from their regions.

Neckermann Polska cancelled bookings late Tuesday to Mallorca and to the Greek island of Zakynthos and cancelled all trips to all destinations on Wednesday.

Meanwhile German airline Condor, another Thomas Cook subsidiary, said it has been promised 380 million euros ($419 million) in credit guarantees from the German government and the state of Hesse to enable it to meet its cash needs for six months.

The airline, which has 4,900 employees and is oriented toward leisure travel, says it remains profitable but needs ready cash to operate over the winter when bookings are lower. The airline said it was going to court to separate itself legally from the liquidation proceedings affecting its parent company so it could keep operating as an independent business.

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