Thomas Cook Collapse Triggers UK's Biggest Ever Peacetime Repatriation
The Government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to launch the repatriation (the return of someone to their own country) programme, which is called Operation Matterhorn and expected to last until Sunday 6 October.
The CAA has mobilised more than 40 aircraft from airlines including British Airways and easyJet, with Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the UK CAA, saying the news of Thomas Cook's demise was 'deeply saddening'.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority and Government are organising new flights home for #ThomasCook passengers.- UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) September 23, 2019
More information on these repatriation flights is available on our dedicated website: https://t.co/g4G2b6RlHc. pic.twitter.com/iXiEZBrvin
Moriarty added: "The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers on what is the UK's largest ever peacetime repatriation.
"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."
The CAA has set up a dedicated website for advice to Thomas Cook passengers.
For customers already abroad:
The CAA said: "If you are currently abroad and your flight was with Thomas Cook we are providing new flights to return you to the UK. These repatriation flights will only be operating for the next two weeks (until 6 October 2019).
"After this date you will have to make your own travel arrangements. From a small number of locations, passengers will have to book their own return flights."
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The CAA added that repatriation flights are only available for passengers whose journey originated in the UK.
For customers yet to travel out of the UK:
The CAA said: "We are sorry to inform you that all future holidays and flights booked with Thomas Cook are cancelled as of 23 September 2019.
"If you are booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating. The Civil Aviation Authority's repatriation programme will not include any outbound flights from the UK.
"If you choose to book a new flight with another airline out of the UK, you will not be eligible for a repatriation flight."
For customers who have a future booking and have not travelled yet:
The CAA said: "If your Thomas Cook flights are ATOL protected by Thomas Cook or any company in the Thomas Cook Group your flights are now cancelled. You should make a claim for a refund via the ATOL scheme.
"If your Thomas Cook flights are not ATOL protected, your flights are now cancelled and you are not entitled to make a claim via the ATOL scheme, but you may be able to claim from your travel insurer or your credit card issuer or bank.
"If, however, you booked an ATOL-protected holiday with Thomas Cook but your flights are with an airline unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group, your flights may still be available, but your accommodation and transfers may not be."
The CAA also advised on Thomas Cook package holiday bookings that include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group, adding: "If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook's airline, it will still be valid, but other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers will be affected."
Featured Image Credit: PA