Rumours swirl of Thomas Cook relaunch “within days”

According to an article by Sky News this afternoon, doomed travel agent Thomas Cook could be set to make a revival as soon as this month, as Chinese owner Fosun toys with relaunch plans.

An announcement is expected in the coming days, but is highly subject to the “introduction of any further quarantining restrictions on British citizens” as well as needing to secure the required regulatory approvals.

If the relaunch does go ahead, it would roughly mark the 1-year anniversary of Thomas Cook’s collapse last September, when the brand was bought out of administration by Fosun for £11 million.

The subsequent chaos led to the UK government having to step in amidst the largest peacetime repatriation effort – and the largest overall since World War II – to organise travel for millions of stranded British citizens around the world.

Back in January, The Times reported that there were existing plans to rebrand Thomas Cook as an “online travel agent”, with the aim to relaunch sometime during June this year.

With the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation and travel industries, it was largely expected that Fosun would shelve its plans – or at least significantly postpone them – until demand returned to pre-Covid levels.

News of the relaunch therefore has come as a bit of a surprise, with a source close to Thomas Cook telling Yahoo Finance that there is “still a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the timing”.

“The travel industry has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and fast-changing travel restrictions in the UK have created headaches for operators”.

Nevertheless, the source emphasised that there had been “no secret” that Fosun were seeking to relaunch Thomas Cook as an online brand at the earliest opportunity, and told Sky News that plans for the brand to reemerge with a “refreshed” image are already at an “advanced stage”.

The relaunch would likely mean that Thomas Cook would not operate its own airline, high street stores or hotels, and would be “closely watched by rivals” for its performance in its maiden months as travel demand slowly creeps back to pre-pandemic levels.

A spokesperson for the brand declined to respond to Sky News on request.

Previous articlePizza Express to close 73 stores amid major restructuring
Next articleUK house prices hit record high, new report says
Junior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Focuses primarily on finance and business content. Has personal interests in Middle Eastern politics, human rights issues, and sustainability initiatives.