The Thomas Cook travel brand is close to being re-launched following the company’s spectacular collapse last year that cost thousands of jobs.
However, the new firm will be online-only without the aircraft, hotels and shops of the old business.
The brand’s owner, China’s Fosun, wants to revive Britain’s oldest travel firm within weeks to capture the start of the booking season for next summer.
But exact timing depends on when Thomas Cooks gets a licence to operate.
The 179-year-old company collapsed under a mountain of debt, and sparked the largest ever peacetime repatriation to bring home 150,000 UK holidaymakers from abroad.
Fosun was already a large shareholder in the business, and last November paid £11m for the Thomas Cook trademarks, websites, social media accounts.
A very limited Thomas Cook website is already operating, although it is not selling holidays.
The firm needs an Atol licence from the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority. There are reports this could be granted within days.
Fosun, which owns the Club Med holiday resorts, declined to comment.
A source said Thomas Cook was “very keen to be up and running by Christmas. It’s when people’s thoughts turn to summer holidays, and there is likely to be a lot of pent up demand because of this year’s coronavirus cancellations.”
The timing of Thomas Cook’s re-launch will also depend on any further restrictions and quarantine rules on foreign travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain had been Thomas Cook’s most popular destination.
The travel and tourism industry has been hit hard by a coronavirus collapse in trade. Britain’s Hays Travel, which bought the bulk of Thomas Cook’s High Street outlets and took on many ex-staff, is cutting almost 900 jobs.
And Tui, Thomas Cook’s biggest rival before the collapse, received €1.2bn (£1bn) in aid from the German government.