More than 100,000 stranded Thomas Cook passengers have been brought home during the first week of the CAA’s repatriation effort, Operation Matterhorn.
Launched on Monday (23 September), Matterhorn – the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation programme – has so far brought home just shy of 107,000 people – around two-thirds of Cook passengers who were overseas when the iconic operator collapsed last week.
The CAA says 94% of Cook passengers flown back to the UK have returned on the same day their cancelled Cook flight had been due to arrive.
To date, more than 100 aircraft have been deployed as part of the Matterhorn fleet.
On Sunday (29 September), a further 64 flights brought back another 14,000 passengers, with 53 flights planned for Monday due to bring home 8,000 people.
The operation to repatriate more than 150,000 Cook passengers will continue until 6 October and will eventually comprise more than 1,000 flights.
So far, the CAA has operated 476 flights and repatriated 106,917 (as of the morning of 30 September).
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said: “We are pleased with the first week of Operation Matterhorn, but as we start the second week of our flying programme we remain firmly focused on the enormity of the challenge we still have to deliver.
“We have returned more than one hundred thousand people to the UK, but there are still over 43,000 people on holiday abroad due to return on or before 6 October. The scale and complexity of this operation will inevitably cause some inconvenience and disruption and I would like to thank holidaymakers for bearing with us.”
The CAA also announced on Monday it will embark on its largest refund programme ever on 7 October, three times larger than any that have come before, as it sets about refunding around 360,000 future Cook bookings protected under the Atol scheme.