By GREGORY KATZ
LONDON (AP) — Longtime British tour company Thomas Cook collapsed after failing to secure rescue funding, and travel bookings for its more than 600,000 global vacationers were canceled early Monday.
The British government said the return of the firm's 150,000 British customers now abroad would be the largest repatriation in its peacetime history. The process began Monday and officials warned that delays are inevitable.
The Civil Aviation Authority said Thomas Cook has ceased trading, its four airlines will be grounded, and its 21,000 employees in 16 countries, including 9,000 in the UK, will lose their jobs. The company several months ago had blamed a slowdown in bookings because of Brexit uncertainty for contributing to its crushing debt burden.