Life After Thomas Cook

Even before COVID-19 caused chaos within the commercial aviation industry, for many airports across the UK, this summer was going to look very different. Lee Cross reflects on the impact Thomas Cook Airlines’ collapse had on facilities across the British Isles.

Manchester was the leisure carrier’s biggest base during summer 2019. It took a 16.6% share of the weekly seat capacity during the season.
AirTeamImages.com/ Simon Willson

With the global spread of the coronavirus and its associated impact on air travel dominating the news, it has been easy to forget that over recent years, airports in the UK have faced countless other challenges. The uncertainty over Brexit and (up until recently) rising fuel prices meant some airlines, already operating with wafer-thin margins on many routes, were reluctant to launch swathes of new services. This hesitancy from many to open additional links is now stronger than ever, as carriers look certain to trim back their networks in a bid to offer only their most profitable connections in a post-COVID-19 world. These current headaches are the latest in a long list of factors that are making for a painful summer for facilities across the country.

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