LONDON – The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority said on Tuesday it repatriated 14,700 holidaymakers who were stranded abroad following the sudden collapse of travel company Thomas Cook.
The CAA is working with the UK government to repatriate over 150,000 people who were on a Thomas Cook holiday when the company went into liquidation in the early hours of Monday.
On Monday, it chartered 64 flights to bring back 95 percent of customers who had originally scheduled to return from vacation that day.
Richard Moriarty, the CAA’s chief executive, said: “Following the very sad news yesterday morning that Thomas Cook had stopped trading and its aircraft were grounded, we launched at the Government’s request our operation to return more than 150,000 people to the UK.
“A repatriation of this scale and nature is unprecedented and unfortunately there will be some inconvenience and disruption for customers. We will do everything we can to minimize this as the operation continues.
“However, I am pleased to report that on day one we brought home over 95 per cent of people who were originally due back on this day with Thomas Cook; 14,700 people in total. We want people to continue to enjoy their holiday, so we will bring them back to the UK on their original departure day, or very soon thereafter.”
It was the biggest repatriation effort by UK authorities since the evacuation of British and Allied forces during the World War II Battle of Dunkirk in 1940.
In a statement, the CAA said it was working in conjunction with the government to bring back an estimated 135,500 passengers over the next 13 days.
It aims to operate 74 flights on Tuesday, with space enough for 16,800 people to fly back to the UK.