Peter Fankhauser

The world’s oldest travel company, UK based Thomas Cook, collapsed Sunday night, stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser apologized via video to all Thomas Cook customers in a video posted by BBC.

A statement on the company website reads:

“Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines.

As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.”

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According to CNN, the company said it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect” after talks on a financial rescue failed. All Thomas Cook bookings have been canceled, the UK Civil Aviation Authority tweeted.

The company says they are currently working to repatriate travellers, which they call a “hugely complex” issue and are informing travellers booked with Thomas Cook to “not go to the UK airport as your flight will not be operating.”

There were reports that the British government was flying home up to 150,000 of its citizens. Wire services said the collapse of the 178-year-old company would put 22,000 people out of jobs around the world.

Officials for Condor Airlines, which flies to Europe from Canada and is a subsidiary of Thomas Cook, are being quoted as saying the company is still in operation and that flights will continue, at least for now. In an Agence France Presse story, Condor officials say they are, however, applying for a bridge loan from the German government.

Thomas Cook collapsed after failing to secure rescue funding, and travel bookings for its more than 600,000 global vacationers were canceled early Monday. Since May 2018, shares have fallen by more than 96% amid Brexit uncertainty and intense competition in the tourism sector.

– with files from Associated Press, CNN and BBC