British Airways launches new Turkish route after Thomas Cook collapse

Hays Travel reassures that its'flexible model will save Thomas Cook following its collapse in September. Image Chris Ratcliffe Bloomberg

Hays Travel reassures that its'flexible model will save Thomas Cook following its collapse in September. Image Chris Ratcliffe Bloomberg

The news that Hays Travel has bought all 555 of the shops Thomas Cook owns across Britain has been welcomed with a sigh of relief by many people, including Harrogate, not least by this famous brand's anxious staff.

Hays will add the outlets to its existing 190 shops to expand a business that's more online-focused than Thomas Cook was, founder and Managing Director John Hays said in an interview.

According to the BBC, would have up to 2,500 jobs could be saved.

British Airways announced the launch of a new flight from London's Gatwick Airport to the Turkish resort of Antalya on Wednesday, once one of Thomas Cook's most popular routes, as airlines jostle to fill the void left by its collapse.

However, Hays has said that they would have to "consider the future of under-performing shops" in towns where branches would overlap.

Jim Tucker, Partner at KPMG and Joint Special Manager of Thomas Cook's Retail division, said: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement".

Chairperson Irene Hays said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the United Kingdom and the global travel industry".

"We are re-opening all of 555 Thomas Cook shops as soon as possible and we are employing Thomas Cook people as fast as we can - 769 have been recruited and 180 made an offer up to last night. Over the weeks ahead we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate".

Meanwhile, MPs will grill Thomas Cook's former bosses next week over its collapse last month.

EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren has said the airline is looking at Thomas Cook's assets, although it is not interested in buying Condor, Thomas Cook's German airline, which is still operating and has been offered a bridging loan by the German government.

"GlobalData's head of R&A, travel & tourism Nick Wyatt also welcomed the news, but argued that" the deal is not without peril". "It [Hays] will have to conduct a review of store locations and operations and there may be a need for a rationalisation at some point, particularly in areas in which Hays already has a strong presence", he said.

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