In Brief

Thomas Cook boss ‘sorry’ for collapse

Travel company CEO defends his salary and bonuses

The boss of Thomas Cook has apologised for his role in the collapse of the travel firm, saying he is “devastated”.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Peter Fankhauser said: “You ask me how I feel? Desperate. And deeply sorry.”

Thomas Cook was liquidised last week after 178 years of trading, leaving 9,000 UK staff members unemployed and 150,000 British holidaymakers stranded overseas, says the BBC.

But Mr Fankhauser defended the £8.3m he received from the company between 2014 and 2018, saying: “I don't think that I'm the fat cat that I'm being described as.”

Top directors at Thomas Cook have been paid a total £20m in salaries and bonuses since 2014, prompting staff, unions and politicians to question the legitimacy of large payouts.

Boris Johnson queried whether directors should award themselves “large sums of money” while their businesses “go down the tubes”.

The chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial  Strategy Committee, Rachel Reeves, said the public felt “appalled that as Thomas Cook mounted up debt and as the company headed for trouble, company bosses were happily pocketing hefty pay-packages”.

Fankhauser said his pay was not “outrageous” compared with other FTSE 250 bosses, but admitted “I think it would be very difficult for me to find another job in the UK.”

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Repatriation efforts

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launched the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation efforts last weekend to bring more than 150,000 people back to the UK.

The scheme - dubbed Operation Matterhorn - continues to bring British holidaymakers home, running 69 flights across 40 airports at home and abroad on Saturday and attempting a similar number on Sunday.

The CAA repatriated more than 100,000 people to the UK in the first seven days of the operation, which will continue until 6 October.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said on Sunday: “We have returned a further 15,000 Thomas Cook customers to the UK in the last 24 hours, and have now used more than 100 aircraft as part of our Matterhorn fleet.”

“Although we are proud of our work so far, we are clear that we still have more than a week of the flying programme to manage and nearly 55,000 passengers to bring back to the UK and we remain focused on that challenge.”

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