UK Civil Aviation Authority Starts Repatriation of UK Citizens After Thomas Cook Collapse

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantJohn Garret from Boston Ma., who was supposed to be flying to Malta, takes a photo of the empty Thomas Cook check in desks in Gatwick Airport, England Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.
John Garret from Boston Ma., who was supposed to be flying to Malta, takes a photo of the empty Thomas Cook check in desks in Gatwick Airport, England Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an operation to repatriate UK citizens stranded abroad over travel company Thomas Cook's liquidation, with the process expected to be completed within two weeks, the CAA said.

Around 150,000 UK customers of Thomas Cook are currently stranded abroad, as the company announced its compulsory liquidation in a press release.

"The Government has asked the UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, from Monday 23 September to Sunday 6 October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK. Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights," the CAA said in a statement.

CAA Chief Executive Richard Moriarty warned that disruptions were inevitable.

"The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home," Moriarty said, as quoted in the press release.

Nearly 50,000 Tourists in Greece Reportedly Need Repatriation After Thomas Cook's Bankruptcy

Nearly 50,000 tourists have been stranded in Greece due to the UK travel company, Thomas Cook, declaring bankruptcy earlier on Monday, and arrangements to repatriate the travellers are being made, media reported, citing Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis.

Earlier on Monday, the Thomas Cook Group, which includes the UK tour operator and airline by the same name, announced its compulsory liquidation following unsuccessful talks between the company's stakeholders and proposed new money providers to secure terms of the firm's recapitalization and reorganization. All of the company's bookings, including flights, were immediately cancelled.

CC BY 2.0 / Aero Pixels / Manchester AirportThomas Cook Airlines Airbus A330-243 (G-VYGK) at Manchester Airport
UK Civil Aviation Authority Starts Repatriation of UK Citizens After Thomas Cook Collapse - Sputnik International
Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A330-243 (G-VYGK) at Manchester Airport

According to the minister, as cited by the Skai media outlet, the first 22,000 tourists who travelled to Greece through the booking company will be repatriated via the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the next couple of days.

Theoharis added that Greece's Tourism Ministry would develop a plan to soften the blow that the bankruptcy will surely have on the country's tourism sector.

Last year, the UK company's CEO, Peter Fankhauser, said that it had planned to invest 150 million euros into Greece's tourism industry, bringing about 3 million tourists to the European holiday destination country.

Thomas Cook Group has urged any of its customers who have booked vacations but not yet travelled on their bookings to refrain from heading to UK airports, as all flights have been cancelled.

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