This BBC article suggests that any announcement about winding up Thomas Cook will wait until late at night and all its planes are on the ground (I guess they don't fly long haul distances?) before an announcement is made about bankruptcy.

What is the significance of this? Surely no airport would turn away an aircraft that needed to land?

Is it an insurance thing?

How do airlines which never have all their planes on the ground get wound up?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's not about allowing airplanes to land. Airport authorities do not control landings, air traffic control does. In any case if an airplane was coming to land and were refused the pilots would eventually declare an emergency due to fuel and land anyway. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Could it be the news could reach crew, and you wouldn’t want people to receive potentially life-changing news while operating an aeroplane? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @CptReynolds The news that it might happen is already out, since a good number of hours ago. I'm not sure uncertainty would be better than knowing, even if the news is bad once it becomes known. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ @CptReynolds it'd be more to prevent aircraft from being stolen, diverted by crews to places where the aircraft can't be easily recovered by debtors or lease companies owning them. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ It takes months or even years to "wind up" any large business, so the timing concern is only about the announcement. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


The article speculates based on a single precedent:

It's likely (looking at the precedent of Monarch's collapse) that any announcement about that will be made late at night, once all planes are on the ground.

But evidently that's not entirely the case. Thomas Cook ceased trading at 0109 UTC of the 23rd, with some of its planes still in the sky:

enter image description here
(Flightradar24) Showing only TCX callsigns.

As you can see, some of them are long-haul returning from USA. I also could not correlate last departure time with the announcement. The latest I found was at 1131 UTC (MT2643 from Orlando to Manchester).


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