Following last Wednesday’s announcement by Thomas Cook Ireland that it was ceasing charter operations out of the Republic of Ireland after this winter season finishes, and plans to close the Dublin office with the potential loss of 44 jobs, the remaining tour operators have been busy trying to attract would-be Thomas Cook summer 2014 customers – although one travel agent did find that one tour operator had increased a price overnight by almost €250!
Commission for Aviation Regulation
On Wednesday 15th January 2014 the Commission for Aviation Regulation posted the following notice on its website:
“The CAR has been notified that the Thomas Cook Ireland office will close by the end of May 2014 and its holiday offering move exclusively online via thomascook.ie . Any customers with questions about existing bookings should contact the travel agency in which they made their original bookings. Those that have made telephone or online bookings should call the customer services number noted on their confirmation documents.”
Irish Travel Agents Association
The ITAA issued the following statement:
“The Irish Travel Agents Association has expressed concern over the closure of Thomas Cook’s Irish office and the termination of chartered holidays from Ireland from 30th April 2014.
“This move by Thomas Cook will impact Irish consumers as there will now be between 60,000 and 80,000 less chartered seats leaving Ireland. Whilst this will impact consumers due to a reduction in capacity and an increase in demand, there are still over 300,000 airline seats available with plenty of destinations and good choice. Our advice would be to consult with your local ITAA travel agent and book early to ensure the best price. Similar to last year January has seen our members report a high level of enquiries and bookings, we expect for this to continue through the month.
Clare Dunne, ITAA President, said: “We are extremely upset for our 44 fellow travel professionals who have been impacted by this decision by Thomas Cook and we hope, based on their experience and skills, that they will have no trouble finding new positions very soon.”
Sunway issued the following statement:
“It is with regret that Sunway learnt of the closure of the Thomas Cook office in Ireland and are sorry to hear of the loss of jobs for many of our friends and colleagues in the business.
“Sunway MD Tanya Airey states: ‘The travel industry in Ireland has been in transition for the last decade and Sunway, a 100% Irish owned company with almost 50 years experience, has adapted their offering over that period to ensure that we could continue to provide the best holidays at the best prices. The one constant in the industry is service and it is why our loyal customers return time and again to our products. Sunway provides multiple platforms for reaching out to the market place, including travel agents nationwide who appreciate the quality of holidays Sunway provides and also through an online strategy with our brands www.sunway.ie and www.holidaysonline.ie ’ As of last Friday 10th January Sunway’s year on year sales are up 13% for summer holidays.”
Wings Abroad issued the following statement:
“ Over the last 24 hours Wings Abroad have received a very large number of phone calls and enquiries from people who had previously booked with Thomas Cook. To make sure that everyone who wants to travel to Turkey this summer can, Wings Abroad will expand capacity. This means that everyone who had booked previously with Thomas Cook will now be able to re-book with Wings Abroad.
“Wings Abroad hope this increased capacity will also encourage others who had booked summer sun packages with Thomas Cook to other European sun destinations to try Turkey this year.”
The Budget Travel website carries the following message:
“Attention Thomas Cook Customers: Thomas Cook have announced they are to depart the Irish holiday market. If you have booked with Thomas Cook, Sunworld or Panorama Holidays, please contact us where we are giving preferential deals to all Thomas Cook customers in Ireland.”
Also, the latest Budget Travel eNewsletters includes the message: “Thomas Cook Customers? We can help: As Thomas Cook have regrettably announced they are departing the Irish market, we are offering preferential treatment in order to assist you in re-booking. Special Hotline: 01 500 5587.”
Under the heading “Closure of Thomas Cook”, Cassidy Travel says: “Due to Thomas Cook Holidays closing its Irish operations, Cassidy Travel can assist in the re-booking of your summer sun holidays for all affected by the winding down of its operations … please call our Holiday Hotline 0818332500.”