Thomas Cook’s ground handler at Manchester airport, Aviator, is preparing to cease operations on 22 October with the loss of 351 jobs.
Aviator said in a statement: “Today, Aviator is announcing that it regrettably anticipates ceasing all operations at Manchester airport. Aviator’s likely last day of service to customers in Manchester will be Tuesday 22 October.
“This is another unfortunate outcome stemming from Thomas Cook’s recent liquidation. Thomas Cook was our largest customer, accounted for approximately 70% of our service in Manchester and despite our efforts over the past two weeks, we have concluded that we cannot operate as a viable business supporting only our remaining customers.
“This proposal has not been made lightly and follows our exploration of several other solutions to continue our operations in Manchester which we began in earnest upon learning of Thomas Cook’s liquidation."
The Unite union said Aviator’s announcement showed that Cook’s collapse last month was already starting to affect its suppliers.
Unite said it was concerned job losses in the Thomas Cook supply chain “could eventually be a significant increase on the 4,000 directly employed workers who lost their jobs as result of the collapse of Thomas Cook’s airline”.
More redundancies are thought to be likely among other suppliers to Cook’s airline, particularly now the CAA’s Cook repatriation programme has ended.
Oliver Richardson, Unite’s national officer for civil aviation, said: “Thomas Cook’s airline collapse will have major implications for the supply chain. We have already seen Aviator announce they will cease trading and redundancies at other companies.
“The scale of additional job losses in the supply chain will significantly add to the numbers of losses in the airline itself.
“Unite will fight for every one of our members jobs, we will seek to keep redundancies to an absolute minimum and if there are job losses we will ensure that those affected receive every penny they are entitled to.”
Unite again criticised the UK government’s failure to support Cook in its final days, particularly its airline, which Richardson called “an act of economic vandalism”.
“The government contains to falsely claim that Thomas Cook was unsustainable but has not been able to answer how the company’s airline subsidiaries in Germany, Spain and Scandinavia have continued to fly with the support of their national governments,” added Richardson.
Aviator added: “We will be consulting with employees’ representatives on this proposed plan and ways of mitigating redundancies and the consequences of ceasing operations.
“Assuming the Manchester operations head towards ceasing operations, our goal is to provide an orderly wind-down of operations over the next two weeks to enable our customers to seek alternative service providers and minimise passenger disruption.”