Thomas Cook: Final repatriation flights touch down

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Tourists board a Thomas Cook plane at the airport of Heraclion, CreteImage source, AFP

The final Thomas Cook holidaymakers to be brought home by the emergency repatriation will arrive in Manchester on a flight from Orlando on Monday.

The flight is one of the 700 organised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as part of "Operation Matterhorn".

The two-week operation returned 150,000 passengers to the UK after the package tour company collapsed last month.

The flight was one of 24 leaving on Sunday, and brings to an end the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation.

The CAA said that for the first 13 days of the operation, 94% of holidaymakers arrived home on the day of their original departure.

"Operation Matterhorn will shortly be complete. The largest peacetime repatriation ever required an extraordinary effort from all involved," said Richard Moriarty, the CAA's chief executive.

The few remaining passengers who did not return on an Operation Matterhorn flight 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.

Saga continues

The Thomas Cook saga is far from over, with lingering questions over the company's collapse and the future travel plans of many customers in disarray.

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

About 9,000 staff in the UK were left jobless when the business failed to secure a last-ditch rescue deal.

The travel firm collapsed 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 the directors' stewardship of the company.

The Financial Reporting Council, the accounting watchdog, will also investigate the auditing of the company.

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