Qantas called on to help in Thomas Cook collapse

Qantas has received a call for help to bring home stranded Thomas Cook passengers following the company's collapse.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched Britain's largest peacetime repatriation to return some 600,000 travellers stranded overseas.

Qantas Airways says it has been approached to take part in the operation.

"We have been approached for support and we're assessing what help we may be able to provide," a Qantas spokesman said.

Virgin Australia says it has not been approached to help.

 

Here is a look at some of the key numbers involved in the operation:

 

FLIGHTS

All of the travel company's flights have been cancelled, meaning the 105 aircraft it operates, according to its website, have been grounded.

 

CURRENT TRAVELLERS ABROAD

There are 600,000 Thomas Cook travellers who have been left stuck overseas, more than 150,000 of them Britons.

 

THE SIZE OF THE AIRLIFT

The airlift is almost twice the size of the repatriation effort required when the Monarch company went bust in October 2017 when the CAA put on 567 flights to bring almost 84,000 passengers back to the UK.

Flights have been cancelled and travellers plans are in limbo. Picture: Getty Images
Flights have been cancelled and travellers plans are in limbo. Picture: Getty Images

 

THE COST

The final cost of the Monarch operation to taxpayers was about STG50 million ($A92 million).

The Department for Transport would not put a firm figure on how much it would cost this time around but it is understood it could top STG100 million ($A184 million).

 

WHAT'S INVOLVED?

Dozens of charter planes have been brought in from as far afield as Malaysia to assist with the mass airlift.

 

 

WHO IS COVERED?

 

Only holiday-makers with return flights booked within the next two weeks, between Monday September 23 and Sunday October 6, will qualify for a free flight home, as close as possible to their original return date.

It could take two weeks before vacationers are returned home. Picture: Getty Images
It could take two weeks before vacationers are returned home. Picture: Getty Images

 

WILL YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK FOR OTHER TRAVEL?

On September 30, one week into the repatriation process, the CAA will launch a service which will seek to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received.

 

WILL YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER IT?

Most of Thomas Cook's British customers are protected by the government-run travel insurance program, which makes sure vacationers can get home if a British-based tour operator fails while they are abroad.

But it generally only covers tourists who buy package deals. It also applies to some flight-only bookings.

If you bought a flight directly with an airline it is unlikely you will be covered and have to pay your own way home.

Most travel insurance does not cover the collapse of travel companies.

 

IMPACT ON OTHER BRANDS

Online travel agent Webjet looks set to take an earnings hit and could write off $43.7 million. Webjet said it had expected to earn between $150 million and $200 million in FY20 total transactional value from Thomas Cook, which owed Webjet about 27 million euros ($A43.7 million) when it collapsed.

"The impairment of any unpaid receivables will be treated as a one-off expense to the income statement," Webjet said in a statement to the ASX.

The firm said the write-off would be covered by existing cash reserves that stood at $211.4 million at June 30 plus undrawn debt facilities.

 

THOMAS COOK'S FAILED AUSSIE VENTURE

Thomas Cook sold its Australian travel insurance business in March just 12 months after it launched following a disastrous year in Britain.

Hobart-based chief executive Mark Tarring took it over and rebranded the business Tilda Travel offering consumer travel and travel money.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Further details will be given at thomascook.caa.co.uk.

24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330 330 from overseas


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