Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, Manchester Airport has been welcoming repatriation flights and preparing an employment fair for the 3,000 Thomas Cook employees based in Greater Manchester, aiming to respond “to this sad news in the most positive way we can.”

Leisure brand Thomas Cook was the fourth biggest airline at Manchester Airport and so the sad collapse of the airline has led to a “challenging week for everyone” at the airport, commented Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan. “When news broke of the historic airline’s demise, a huge operation kicked into action, with many people working through the night and doing whatever they needed to do to ensure as smooth an operation as possible for returning passengers.”

Over the past week, the airport has received more than 100 repatriation flights, including many that were originally due to fly to other airports but were sent to Manchester instead. Cowan explained: “Our colleagues have been on hand to welcome those returning to the UK, while our train station has been packed with volunteers offering free refreshments to those diverted here, before they make their way home.”

While thanking everyone who had played a role in this effort, he also expressed his thoughts for Thomas Cook employees, around 3,000 of which are based in Greater Manchester, “the majority of whom were based at Manchester Airport,” Cowan said, adding, “most of us came into contact with them every day.”

To help these employees and those in the wider supply chain, the CEO has written to companies and organisations with operations at Manchester Airport to encourage them to get involved in a dedicated employment fair for those who have lost their jobs following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Held at the Runway Visitor Park at the airport on 3 October, the event will bring together organisations with vacancies that may interest those impacted, with employees attending including Manchester Airports Group, TUI,, Whitbread, RAC and the NHS.

Partners supporting the event will also include Jobcentre Plus, Citizens Advice, the Money Advice Service and the airport’s Airport Academy training centre. The event will also offer one-to-one advice and guidance to information about work, skills and training opportunities, as well as a rolling programme of support sessions. The event is being supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Growth Company and the office of GM Mayor Andy Burnham.

“The whole of the Manchester Airport community was shocked and saddened by the news of Thomas Cook’s collapse,” commented Manchester Airport’s Cowan on the announcement, “We are aware of the significant impact this has had on Thomas Cook’s 3,000 employees in the region, the majority of whom were close colleagues and friends of ours.”

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