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What would happen if Thomas Cook collapsed?

By Neil Lancefield, PA Travel Correspondent

Fears are growing about the future of Thomas Cook. Here the PA news agency looks at some of the key questions if the firm collapses.

– How many people would be affected?

If Thomas Cook collapsed, up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers would be stranded abroad and a million more would lose their future bookings.

– What would happen to customers already on holiday?

It is expected that the Civil Aviation Authority would be ordered by the Department for Transport to launch a major repatriation operation to fly them home.

– Who would pay for this?

When Monarch Airlines went bust in October 2017, the Government spent £60 million hiring planes to get passengers home. Bringing back Thomas Cook passengers would likely cost more than this.

If Thomas Cook collapsed, up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers would be stranded abroad (Peter Byrne/PA)

– What is the Atol scheme?

Atol provides protection to holidaymakers when travel firms collapse.

– What type of bookings are protected?

The scheme protects most trips booked as a package, such as flights and accommodation, or flights and car hire. It also applies to some flight-only bookings, particularly when the tickets are not received immediately.

– What protection does it offer?

If a business collapses while you are on holiday, the scheme will make sure you can finish your holiday and return home.

Customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

– What can I do if my trip is not Atol protected?

Holidaymakers can apply to their credit or debit card provider to be reimbursed. Not all travel insurance policies provide coverage when a firm collapses.

Thomas Cook high street shops could close (Thomas Cook/PA)

– What would happen to Thomas Cook shops?

Thomas Cook has around 600 stores on UK high streets. These would close if the company collapses. Thomas Cook Group employs around 22,000 people in 16 countries.

– What about the airlines?

Thomas Cook Group’s four airlines could be grounded if the firm goes bust. Those based in the UK, Scandinavia and the Balearics carry the group’s name, while their German sister company is named Condor.