UK tour operator and airline Thomas Cook will enter administration today leaving 150,000 passengers stranded abroad after last-minute talks failed to save the group.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the request of the British Government have started to make arrangements to repatriate all UK citizens currently abroad in what is thought to be one of the biggest repatriation missions seen since World War II. The operation has been dubbed ‘Operation Matterhorn’ and may cost up to £600 Million.
Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the CAA said “We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK's largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world.
"The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home.
“We urge anyone affected by this news to check our dedicated website, thomascook.caa.co.uk , for advice and information.”
The CAA will begin flying passengers home between September 23 and October 6. They will also launch a service from September 30 to refund travellers with the aim to refund them within 60 days of any claim.
All future bookings including flights and accommodation have now been cancelled with ATOL protected customers being assured that they will receive a full refund if their holiday has been affected.
A website has now been set up by the CAA where passengers are able to find full details of their repatriation flights and other important information on accommodation and travel arrangements covered by ATOL. You can visit the website here https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/
The collapse of the 178 year old company will also mean the closure of 550 UK travel shops, putting 20,000 jobs in the UK and abroad at risk.
Image Source: Pedro Aragão [CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons