FORMER employees of Thomas Cook have expressed their happiness after hearing up to 2,500 jobs could be saved by Sunderland based Hays Travel.
The independent travel agent said it will buy 555 stores from Thomas Cook after the holiday company collapsed late last month.
Elizabeth Campbell, who fixed seating issues on flights for the admin department, described feeling “so glad” after first hearing that Thomas Cook stores had been bought.
She said: “Such good news for the people who had lost their jobs, especially at this time round as it is coming up to Christmas.
“When I heard about Thomas Cook going in to liquidation, I was quite saddened as I once worked for them in the big building at Sunbridge Road.
“I first flew with them last year on my first holiday abroad, I felt safe flying back with Thomas Cook. The staff were lovely and I’m happy to hear about Hays taking over.”
Hays has already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook staff and has offered employment to more of the airline’s personnel.
All passengers who were stuck abroad have been returned to the UK.
The Thomas Cook brand will disappear from the UK high street, the new owners of its 555 stores has said.
Hays Travel said it did not buy the rights to the Thomas Cook name and would change them to its own branding.
The deal will boost the high street presence of Hays, the UK’s largest independent travel group.
Elizabeth said: “It’s a shame they won’t be taking over the Thomas Cook name, but it is right in a way to do this as Thomas Cook went bust.
“The main thing is people have their jobs back.”
Another former Thomas Cook employee, Dave Wright, said the move will make sure the travel industry continues to grow.
He said: “It’s good to see that people’s jobs will be saved and that an organisation such as Hays Travel can continue to grow in what some believe is a failing side of the industry.
“Travel agents are so essential to this industry and help give people a personal touch that a lot of the British people still need and enjoy.”
David Chapman, the official receiver of Thomas Cook, said this is an “important step in the liquidation process”.
He said: “This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets,” said David Chapman, the official receiver of Thomas Cook.
John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel, said: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them.”
Managing director John Hays said a “good percentage” of the shops will be open and trading on Thursday and said he feels “positive”.