After enduring an extremely turbulent and uncertain period, Thomas Cook Airlines has emerged leaner, fitter and better suited to meet the changing demands of the market. Lee Cross reports.
It’s fair to suggest that the past few years have been difficult for Thomas Cook Airlines. The British leisure carrier has been forced to do battle on numerous fronts since the turn of the decade, surviving the nearcollapse of its parent tour operator Thomas Cook in 2011 only to face persistent rumours of its impending disposal, initially as part of a fire sale and then as a key element of the firm’s recovery plan. Elsewhere, the insatiable rise of low-cost carriers (LCCs) led to a drastic erosion in the airline’s traditional ‘bucket-and-spade’ charter routes and marginalised its network to the edges of Europe and North Africa. Here, a spate of terrorist attacks, combined with social and political unrest, in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have had significant financial repercussions, costing the Thomas Cook Group approximately £25m in 2015 alone.