UK travel firm Thomas Cook collapses, strands hundreds of thousands of travelers

British tour company Thomas Cook has collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of people around the world stranded due to canceled flights and hotel services.

Approximately 600,000 travelers are affected, according to The Associated Press, which added that the exact number of those stranded is unknown because some of the firm's subsidiaries are negotiating with local authorities in the hopes of maintaining operations.


The British government will reportedly work to get 150,000 British residents back from around the globe in what would be the country's largest peacetime repatriation effort. 

About 1 million people had booked vacations through Thomas Cook and will obtain refunds with travel insurance, the AP noted.

Thomas Cook had competed with budget airlines and pointed a finger at uncertainty sparked by Brexit negotiations for decreased consumer activity. The company requested 200 million pounds, or $250 million, on Friday to prevent the collapse. All 21,000 of the 188-year-old company's employees in 16 countries will be laid off.

Peter Fankhauser, the CEO of Thomas Cook, said on Monday that the company attempted to "secure a deal to save our business."

“I know that this outcome will be devastating to many people and will cause a lot of anxiety, stress and disruption,” Fankhauser read from a statement outside the firm's offices, according to the AP.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the news service that the British government made the correct choice by not bailing out Thomas Cook.

“We need to look at ways in which tour operators one way or another can protect themselves from such bankruptcies in future,” Johnson said.