Newspapers hit out at Thomas Cook ‘fat cats’ and ‘dayflight robbery’

The collapse of Peterborough-based travel giant Thomas Cook, which has triggered the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation, has attracted ire in Tuesday’s papers.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 7:37 am
Staff at Thomas Cook's head office in Lynch Wood

Some 150,000 tourists are being brought home over the next two weeks in a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) flight programme costing £100 million.

The Daily Mail describes the company’s directors as “fat cats” for their payouts before Thomas Cook’s demise, with the paper’s leader saying the firm was managed with “spectacular incompetence”.

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Staff at Thomas Cook's head office in Lynch Wood

The company’s chiefs have a “moral duty” to return their bonuses, according to the Daily Mirror, while The Sun refers to the “greedy” executives as committing “Dailyflight Robbery” and the paper’s travel editor decries the agent’s “rash business decisions and inability to move with the times”.

The Times follows with a similar line, its editorial saying “no-one need shed any tears” over the company’s failure, adding that firms “that fail to adapt to the rapidly changing world around them will die”.

Criticism is reserved for price-hiking airlines by the Daily Star, which describes such operators as “Vultures” and the i newspaper says travellers have called their treatment by Thomas Cook a “disgrace”.

The Daily Express front page features a photo of a former Thomas Cook staff member in tears as she leaves the company’s Peterborough headquarters, but the paper’s editorial says the Government was right in not offering a bailout.

MPs “scuppered” a last-minute deal to rescue the firm, The Guardian reports, though the paper’s political editor notes “bad management” including borrowings which were “too high” led to the company’s failure.

The Daily Telegraph gives extensive coverage to the story in its business section, and notes that the “brutal truth is Thomas Cook will quickly be forgotten”.

“But allowing it to limp on, kept artificially alive on state subsidies, would have been a terrible mistake,” financial columnist Matthew Lynn adds.