Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, has collapsed, stranding hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.
Hundreds of passengers arrived on Monday at Mallorca’s Palma airport not knowing if they could fly as Thomas Cook flights were delayed, causing long queues at the airport as many customers were redirected to Iberia Airlines flights.
Customers were told not to travel to airports until they have been told via a special website – thomascook.caa.co.uk – that they had been secured a return flight that organized by the British government.
The government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch a repatriation program over the next two weeks, from Monday to October 6, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.
The firm ran hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. It currently has 600,000 people abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation.