Thomas Cook: Remaining 4,800 passengers set for return


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Reuters

Flights repatriating the remaining 4,800 Thomas Cook holidaymakers are due to take off on Sunday as the return of almost 150,000 people nears its end.

The Civil Aviation Authority, which launched its Operation Matterhorn plan after the tour firm collapsed, said 24 flights would operate today.

The final passengers are due to land in Manchester early on Monday on a flight from Orlando, in the US.

Matterhorn involved more than 700 flights over two weeks, the CAA said.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive at CAA, said: “In the first 13 days we have made arrangements for around 140,000 passengers to return to the UK and we are pleased that 94% of holidaymakers have arrived home on the day of their original departure.”

Anyone not returning on these aircraft will have to make their own plans, although those covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (Atol) will be refunded. The majority of Thomas Cook holidays were packages and are Atol protected.

Mr Moriarty said any traveller not covered by Atol and who wished to return early might still find seats on Sunday’s remaining flights. However, he said there was no guarantee of availability and priority would be given to those already due to return today.

To find out if there are available seats on repatriation flights, travellers can contact the CAA call centre on +44 1753 330 330. They should not go to the airport unless a seat is confirmed, the CAA said.

Saga continues

The return of the remaining passengers will bring to an end the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation.

However, the Thomas Cook saga is far from over, with the future travel plans of many customers in disarray and thousands of job losses.

The CAA said it will turn its attention to refunding the 360,000 bookings cancelled when Britain’s oldest travel group went under.

The travel firm collapsed with a black hole of more than £3bn in the early hours of 23 September, after failing to obtain rescue funds from its banks.

An inquiry has been launched by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, with MPs focussing on directors’ stewardship of the company.

And the Financial Reporting Council, the accounting watchdog, is to investigate the auditing of the company.