(Reuters) - Thomas Cook TCG.L, the world’s oldest travel firm, collapsed on Monday, stranding hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.
Following are key dates from the history of Thomas Cook and the most recent developments as reported by Reuters.
1841 - Thomas Cook organizes his first excursion, a rail journey from Leicester in central England to the neighboring town of Loughborough. A special train carries some 500 passengers a distance of 12 miles and back for a temperance (anti-alcohol) meeting.
1855 - Thomas Cook’s first continental tour. He takes two parties from the eastern English port of Harwich to Antwerp, then to Brussels, Cologne, Heidelberg, Strasbourg and, finally, to Paris for the International Exhibition.
Cook offers a complete holiday “package” (comprising travel, accommodation and food) for the first time. Thomas also offers a foreign exchange service for the first time.
1865 - Thomas Cook opens his first high-street shop in Fleet Street, London.
1874 - Thomas Cook launches “Cook’s Circular Note” a precursor of the travelers cheque, in New York.
1896 - Thomas Cook & Son is appointed Official Passenger Agent for the first modern Olympic Games in Athens.
1919 - Thos Cook & Son, as the company was then known, is the first travel agent in Britain to advertise pleasure trips by air.
1928 - Frank and Ernest Cook, the two surviving grandsons of Thomas Cook, retire, selling the business to the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens.
1948 - Becomes state-owned under the British Transport Holding Company.
1972 - Privatised and bought by a consortium of Britain’s Midland Bank, Trust House Forte and the Automobile Association.
1990 - Thomas Cook becomes the world’s leading foreign exchange retailer when it acquires the retail foreign exchange operations of Deak International.
1992 - Westdeutsche Landesbank, Germany’s third largest bank, and the LTU Group, Germany’s leading charter airline, acquire the Thomas Cook Group from Midland Bank.
1994 - Thomas Cook acquires Interpayment Services Limited, a subsidiary of Barclays bank, to become the largest supplier of travelers cheques outside the United States.
1994 - Thomas Cook sells its travel management business to American Express.
1999 - The European Commission approves the merger of Thomas Cook and Carlson Leisure Group’s UK travel interests.
2001 - Thomas Cook completes the sale of its Global and Financial Services division to Travelex.
2001 - Thomas Cook is acquired by the German travel company Condor & Neckermann, which changes its name to Thomas Cook AG.
2007 - Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc merge to form Thomas Cook Group plc, bringing a stronger Nordic focus with the incorporation of the Ving, Spies and Tjäreborg businesses.
2011 - Thomas Cook merges its UK retail operations with those of the Co-operative Group and the Midlands Co-operative Society, creating the UK’s largest chain of travel agents.
2015 - Thomas Cook Group plc announces a new strategic partnership with Chinese investment group Fosun International Limited.
May 16, 2019 - Company issues its third profit warning in less than a year, saying discounting and higher fuel and hotel costs will hurt it during the peak summer season.
August 2019 - Thomas Cook agrees the main terms of a rescue package that will see Fosun Tourism take over its tour operations and creditor banks and bondholders acquire its airline.
September 2019 - Thomas Cook seeks an additional 200 million pounds to see the company through the winter season when business is slow.
Sept. 22, 2019 - Thomas Cook executives meet lenders and creditors in London to try to thrash out a last-ditch deal to keep the company afloat.
Sept. 23, 2019 - Thomas Cook announces collapse after it failed to secure a rescue package. CEO issues apology.
Compiled by Keith Weir; editing by Darren Schuettler