Beleaguered Thomas Cook 'agrees easyJet deal'

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EasyjetBeleaguered holiday firm Thomas Cook has reportedly signed a deal to book thousands of seats on flights run by low-cost carrier easyJet.

The UK's second-biggest travel company will use the easyJet seats as part of its package holidays for next summer, the Sunday Times said.


The tie-up, which could reportedly be announced this week, will cover about 80,000 trips, representing 3% of Thomas Cook's capacity.

The group, which was recently forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200 million of loans, has scaled back the size of its own airline in the past year as it moves to slash costs.

While it is thought to be the first time that easyJet has sold seats wholesale to another company, Thomas Cook has regularly worked with other airlines, such as Monarch.

The group was plunged into crisis in November after it turned to its lenders for help, sparking fears of a collapse, and recently appointed former Premier Farnell boss Harriet Green to lead its turnaround as its chief executive.

Thomas Cook has so far sold part of its aircraft fleet, five Spanish hotels and its Indian arm as part of the strategy to reduce its £1 billion debt mountain.

Ms Green is currently undertaking a review of the business that is likely to lead to a broad overhaul - but the outcome will not be known until next year.

Developments at easyJet have been overshadowed in recent months by various spats between the airline's founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and its directors.

Last month, easyJet fended off Sir Stelios's attempt to oust its chairman Sir Michael Rake, who is also deputy chairman of Barclays, after it failed to win the support of the majority of shareholders. Earlier this year, Sir Stelios was also defeated in his attempt to throw out a multimillion-pound pay deal for executives.

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