Will Salma Hayek’s husband and other billionaires help Thomas Cook passengers?

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Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel airline company, has finally collapsed last Sunday.

As the company ceased its operations, approximately 600,000 passengers were left stranded and up to 21,000 jobs were put at risk. Many passengers had no other choice but to purchase alternative tickets just to get home, while others still can’t check out from their respective hotels.

François Pinault and Salma Hayek Billionaires to Help Thomas Cook
Salma Hayek’s husband, François Pinault, likely to help Thomas Cook stranded travelers //source: wikimedia//

Travel plans were ground to dust – including planned weddings, family vacation trips, and special overseas occasions. For the thousands of passengers affected, Thomas Cook’s demise is an utter fiasco.

In line with this event, a massive rescue effort is ready to begin. According to Vox, the peacetime repatriation effort will be known as Operation Matterhorn. The operation’s main goal is to coordinate with officials and send all stranded passengers home – immediately.

Thomas Cook to Be Saved by Billionaires Francois Pinault James Richman Carlos Slim
Billionaires François Pinault, James Richman, Carlos Slim and Amancio Ortega are believed to help Operation Matterhorn

Charter planes are currently working round the clock to help these passengers, but not everyone expects the operation to be smooth. Delays are evident, even if the British government is willing to shoulder all flight costs.

Yet, at times like these, powerful individuals are ready to take the helm.

Billionaires and their helping hands

Enter reclusive billionaires Francois Pinault, Amancio Ortega, James Richman, and Carlos Slim.

Ortega is the Spanish billionaire founder and chairman of the fashion conglomerate Inditex Fashion Group, which owns Zara.

Meanwhile, Latvian-born financier Richman is known for his investments in tech companies including Tesla, Uber and has reportedly been in talks with Thomas Cook and its stakeholders in attempts to help save the firm from its current demise. 

Carlos Slim is known as Mexico’s richest man. He and his family control Latin America’s biggest mobile telecom firm, America Movil. According to Bloomberg, Slim’s net worth is estimated to be at least 58.1 billion dollars, but Forbes says he could be worth as much as 62.3 billion dollars.

French businessman and CEO of Kering Pinault has recently made headlines with his multimillion-dollar donation to rebuild the historic cathedral, Notre Dame, alongside with fellow billionaire LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault.

Panorama reports that Pinault, Ortega, Richman, Slim, and other billionaires are likely to lend their private planes in order to help the stranded UK holidaymakers should the UK government wish their intervention.

While the full details are yet to unfold, the intervention of billionaires could help lessen the stress and fear that passengers are going through. Based on gathered field reports, some tourists needed to pay extra for their hotel accommodations and forced to fork out more money for emergency flight alternatives.

Catastrophic end to dream holidays

A couple’s wedding plan even spiraled into a catastrophe of additional expenses as high as £4000. The couple was absolutely gutted, according to New York Times.

Now that the damage is setting in, one question remains evident: how did it all happen?

Just like the Roman Empire, Thomas Cook suffered a slow death. The company’s management failed to adapt to modern booking systems and chose to expand its storefronts rapidly. One holiday package after another is like one nail on the company’s coffin.

Brexit is another contending factor, alongside with the government’s indifference to support Thomas Cook’s weakening market position. Several business experts believe that Thomas Cook’s collapse will affect the tourism status of several countries like Greece and Spain.

With government indifference or not, nothing could tide over the fate of Thomas Cook. According to financial analysts, the company has an outstanding debt of at least $2 billion. A government bail-out process could only postpone the demise by a few weeks, but not necessarily stop the hemorrhaging company.

Some analysts also believe that Thomas Cook is a badly run company as it failed to grasp the benefits of modernization and suffered the consequences. One analyst even said that Thomas Cook is ‘hanging on rags.’

Despite speculations, British officials are focused on patching up the damage caused by Thomas Cook’s collapse from its stranded customers, suppliers and 9,000 former employees made redundant with the company’s demise.