Scores of Borders holidaymakers are feared to among the 150,000 Thomas Cook passengers left stranded abroad by the collapse of the travel agent today, September 23.
The London-based company, the oldest travel firm in the world, ceased trading this morning, cancelling all flights.
That means all 9,000 of its UK staff, including those employed at its only store in the Borders, in Channel Street in Galashiels, are now out of work with next to no warning.
Borders MP John Lamont has expressed sympathy for both workers and passengers, saying: “This is really disappointing news for staff at Thomas Cook and the 150,000 Brits currently abroad.
“Getting everyone home represents the largest peacetime repatriation undertaken by the UK Government, but the Department for Transport has rightly been planning for this scenario for some time.
“I am pleased that the UK Government is making sure that everyone who is affected will get home whether or not their holiday is protected.
“The advice for people already on holiday is that they should try to enjoy their time away as, in most circumstances, they will not be flown home ahead of their scheduled return date.
“I’d urge staff in Galashiels who have concerns to get in touch with me, or to check the CAA website for more information.”
The bill for getting all the passengers left stranded overseas by Thomas Cook’s demise is expected to come to about £100,000.
Further information is available at thomascook.caa.co.uk
Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association president Ken McLeod added: “This is a terrible day, not just for the UK travel industry, but on a global scale as well for the most renowned name in travel.
“Our first thoughts are with everyone affected by this, whether they are holidaymakers, staff or third parties such travel agents, hotels and other suppliers.
“We know that our own member agencies up and down the country are working very hard to assist customers currently on holiday with Thomas Cook and who have booked to travel in the future.
“It is obviously a worrying time for all concerned, but one of the key roles of a travel agent is to act on behalf of customers in times of crisis.”