After the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, two-thirds of the British holidaymakers concerned already repatriated

This repatriation operation – the most massive organized in peacetime by the British authorities – is expected to last until October 6 and provides for more than 1,000 flights.

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For the 9,000 employees of Thomas Cook in the United Kingdom who find themselves mostly unemployed, the announcement of the bankruptcy was brutal. OLI SCARFF / AFP

Two-thirds of British holidaymakers who left with Thomas Cook at the time of his bankruptcy a week ago had returned home on Monday 30 September. Some 106,000 UK residents have been repatriated as part of the "Matterhorn" operation, out of the 150,000 who went on holiday with a Thomas Cook flight or stay at the time of the bankruptcy of the tour operator , said the UK Civil Aviation Agency (CAA).

This repatriation operation – the most massive organized in peacetime by the British authorities – is scheduled to last until 6 October and more than 1,000 flights are planned.

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Meanwhile, Peter Fankhauser, boss of the fallen group, defended in the UK press on Sunday his leadership of the company and the high salaries he and other top leaders have received in recent years. "I did everything I could to save society", he says in the Daily Mailalthough he understands " anger " and "The disappointment of (his) colleagues ".

Since the bankruptcy, critics, including the political world, have multiplied against some 20 million pounds (22.5 million euros) received in recent years by the leaders of Thomas Cook, including Mr. Fankhauser. Transport Minister Grant Shapps even mentioned a bonus refund.

"We have not changed fast enough"

Questioned by the Daily Mail of the £ 8.3 million that he personally received, Mr Fankhauser replied that half were shares he did not receive and no longer worth, also noting that these pay levels were not not "Outrageous" compared to those of the other bosses of the FTSE 250 companies. He said he had hoped for the end of a government intervention to save society. "They did not want to set a precedent", he comments.

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The management of Thomas Cook had in recent months developed a group refinancing plan with a group of banks and the Chinese group Fosun, which held 17% of the group. "We had solutions", says Mr. Fankhauser in another interview at Sunday Times, pointing out that Spanish and Turkish hotel groups had agreed to inject funds.

But about two weeks ago, some banks estimated that 200 million extra pounds were needed for the company to be viable. The leaders then entered into marathon discussions last weekend, which did not succeed, especially because without government guarantee, some investors have left the tour de table. "We have not changed fast enough"Fankhauser admits, Thomas Cook continued to buy traditional branch networks while consumers made the habit of booking their holidays on the internet.

For the 9,000 employees of Thomas Cook in the UK, most of whom are unemployed, the announcement of the bankruptcy was brutal. Unite Union regretted the government's decision not to intervene, arguing that "Other governments in Europe have made the right choice and these subsidiaries continue to steal".

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