Thomas Cook’s chances of survival are in the balance as it struggles to meet a demand from Royal Bank of Scotland and its other banks for an extra £200 million of funding.
The travel company risks going bust if it cannot secure the funds, which would force the government to launch the biggest peacetime repatriation of British citizens at an estimated cost of £600 million.
It is understood Thomas Cook has held talks with ministers about contingency measures. A collapse would hit an estimated 150,000 UK holidaymakers as well as more than 500,000 customers in overseas source markets, mostly Germany and Scandinavia.
One airline captain suggested that preparations were already being made for repatriations: “The jungle drums are beating about lots of unusual handling requests…