Photo: Transport Pixels

LONDON – The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today completed the repatriation efforts, dubbed ‘Operation Matterhorn’ for those stranded as a result of the Thomas Cook collapse.

The final flight landed at Manchester Airport at 0835L this morning, carrying the last 392 out of the 140,000 passengers affected by the collapse.

Thomas Cook went into liquidation on September 23 and thus triggered such efforts.

It is understood that ATOL, the insurance firm that covers passengers in the event of occurrences such as this will expect more than 360,000 refund claims for 800,000 people.

Thomas Cook A330 Landing into San Francisco for the final time.

Up to now, 24,000 direct debit payment refunds are currently taking place, with a date of October 14 for those to be completed.

The two-week repatriation mission involved 150 aircraft from 50 partners across the globe.

Commenting on the completion of Operation Matterhorn was Richard Moriarty, the CEO of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, who thanked those for their efforts in this rescue plan.

“Operation Matterhorn will shortly be complete. The largest peacetime repatriation ever required an extraordinary effort from all involved. I want to thank everyone who has played their part in delivering this enormous undertaking, including the passengers we flew home for bearing with us as we undertook this complex operation.

Moriarty continued with a tribute to those employees in Thomas Cook before ending with information for fliers affected.

“I also want to pay tribute to the many amazing former Thomas Cook employees who worked with us to make this operation a success. It needed an unprecedented team effort from our commercial partners, our friends across government and my colleagues at the CAA.

 “We know that customers are devastated by the cancellation of their holidays. Those who bought a Thomas Cook ATOL protected holiday are entitled to a full refund of all the money they have paid towards the cost of their holiday. In addition to this, ATOL protected passengers that were abroad when the company went into liquidation might be able to claim for out of pocket expenses.

“The sheer number of refunds means this will be the largest ever ATOL reimbursement programme. The CAA is working around the clock with our partners so that customers receive their refunds as quickly as possible.”

From the 150 aircraft collectively, 746 flights were operated to 10 of the UK’s airports from 55 foreign airports.

Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Airbus A330-343X OY-VKG seen arriving on runway 22 at London Stansted (EGSS, STN). Picture: Thomas Saunders.

For those affected, ATOL will aim to pay out to passengers up to 60 days after they submit their compensation forms.

The CAA also mentioned that 94% of passengers affected flown back to their origin airports on the original days of their cancelled Thomas Cook flights.

According to reports previously, this rescue effort costs up to £600 million, which is 10 times larger to that of the Monarch bankruptcy.

This has been a successful effort from the CAA, especially in such a short space of time.

The next steps now will be on the passenger’s sides, to develop efforts in getting their money back from expenses incurred after the collapse to those that have booked for future trips.