Are billionaires Amancio Ortega and James Richman planning on saving stranded Thomas Cook travelers?


Thomas Cook has recently gone bust causing around 150,000 passengers globally being stranded in their dream holidays.

The world’s oldest tour operators went under overnight after several failed attempts to agree on a rescue deal with its lenders, shareholders, and the UK government.

There are multiple setbacks for the present condition of the company, on top of which is a 1.6 billion-pound debt pile from a decade ago.

Over 21,000 likely to be out of jobs

Since Thomas Cook has a bigger client base and has worked with many other subsidiary airlines, its demise has created a problem even bigger than that of Monarch Airlines which affected around 110,000 customers in October 2017.

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As the company shuts down its operations overnight, 21,000 jobs are placed in danger globally whilst around 9,000 jobs are affected in the UK. It has also triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.

Stranded passengers are currently faced with piling issues. Several of the holidaymakers have contacted their respective UK Embassies from different regions as some were reportedly demanded to pay up large sums of monies from hotels and other service providers whose financial obligations were not met by the busted tour operator. Bills were seen running into thousands of pounds in some cases.

Repatriation plans for the next two weeks

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is running its repatriation operation to bring Thomas Cook passengers back to the UK for the next two weeks until 6 October. After which, stranded travelers will have to make their own necessary travel arrangements.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Telegraph that dozens of charter planes are being dispatched across the world to fly back customers. However, he cautioned that “there are bound to be problems and delays”. The said effort will be covered by the British government and its taxpayers.

Billionaires and their lending hands

Meanwhile, secretive billionaire Zara founder Amancio Ortega and financier James Richman are rumored to be looking into lending their private planes to help bring the stranded holidaymakers home.

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Both Ortega and Richman are known for being immensely private making it difficult to get detailed information about the rescue plan. In 2002, Bloomberg noted that the Spanish billionaire has only granted interviews to three journalists. Meanwhile, Richman is Latvian-born reclusive financier whose camp, along with Chinese investors, were reportedly have been in talks with Thomas Cook in a bid to save the company from its current demise.

While the planes are mainly accustomed to accommodating a small number of passengers, the planned help from billionaires can make way for emergency repatriation cases.

According to reports, an emergency coalition of private jets from these secretive billionaires are planned to be on high alert to rescue Thomas Cook customers in case the planned repatriation by the tour operator fails.

The billionaires and their representatives were not immediately available for comment on this story. However, the word is out that the private planes to be sent by Ortega, Richman, and other billionaires are likely to give priority to stranded passengers who need health-related and other emergency repatriations.