An estimated 600,000 tourists left stranded as Thomas Cook ceases trading with immediate effect 3 weeks ago

An estimated 600,000 tourists left stranded as Thomas Cook ceases trading with immediate effect

The holiday firm has closed after 178 years in business.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed that tour operator Thomas Cook has "ceased trading with immediate effect".

All 105 of the company's aircraft have been grounded and the company's website states that customers who are due to use the airline should not go to the airport, as the flights will not be operational.

In the UK alone, the CAA are working in conjunction with Thomas Cook to bring home over 150,000 holidaymakers, which BBC News called "the biggest ever peacetime repatriation".

While the company pulled out of the Irish market a number of years ago, some Irish tourists may still be affected by the closure, but the Irish Travel Agents Association believes the number is very small, telling RTÉ News that any bookings by Irish holidaymakers would have been made directly through the firm and would have involved flying through the UK.

RTÉ News also estimated the number of holidaymakers affected by the sudden closure to be around 600,000.

Additionally, the closure of the tour operator will put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide.

The company failed to secure the extra £200 million needed to keep the business afloat following a full day of talks with investors and shareholders, with Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's chief executive, stating: "Despite huge efforts over a number of months and further intense negotiations in recent days we have not been able to secure a deal to save our business.

"It has been my privilege to lead Thomas Cook. It is deeply distressing to me that it has not been possible to save one of the most-loved brands in travel."

Customers who believe they may be affected by the closure are asked to head to this website and follow appropriate instructions.