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Thomas Cook Airlines chief apologises after ‘inappropriately timed’ video

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The chief executive officer of Thomas Cook Airlines has apologised following the release of a “celebratory video” days after the company’s collapse.

Christoph Debus said he was “truly sorry” after a video shared on Facebook showed him being applauded by staff from Thomas Cook’s Germany airline subsidiary company, Condor.

The video was made following an announcement that Condor would receive €380m from the German government to keep it operating.

Mr Debus, who is also the chief airlines officer for Thomas Cook Group Plc, posted an apology on LinkedIn and Twitter on Wednesday after the video was shared online.

He said: “I am aware that a celebratory video has been shared across social media.

“I never, ever intended to cause offence or appear inconsiderate.

“I am heartbroken that any of my colleagues feel that I have been, and for that I am truly sorry.”

Mr Debus said the video was filmed “immediately” after the announcement that Condor would receive money from the German government.

The reaction of myself, the Condor management and employees was one of pure relief that Condor could continue to fly and more redundancies within the group airlines were prevented

The 36-second video shows Condor staff clapping and cheering as senior management from the airline and Mr Debus walk past smiling.

“The reaction of myself, the Condor management and employees was one of pure relief that Condor could continue to fly and more redundancies within the group airlines were prevented,” Mr Debus said.

“I realise, however, that this video was inappropriately timed and I am sorry.”

Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of Monday after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal.

An estimated 150,000 people are being brought back to the UK by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in a flight programme costing £100 million.

About 9,000 staff in the UK face redundancy.

Mr Debus said his “thoughts remain” with his colleagues in the UK and across Europe who have “worked so hard for our group airline and yet have had the worst possible news this week”.

According to Thomas Cook’s website, Mr Debus joined the company in 2012 as group head, air travel and management director.

Prior to his role with the company, he was chief commercial and chief operational officer at Air Berlin PLC & Co.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook has confirmed the authenticity of the video.

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