Final Thomas Cook ‘rescue flight’ arrives back in UK

The final Thomas Cook passengers being flown home to the UK after the company’s collapse have landed this morning.

Sunday marked the end of the the emergency repatriation, Operation Matterhorn, with the last plane landing in Manchester this morning.

The enormous operation, run by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), brought 150,000 passengers home on around 700 flights.

The operation was the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation programme.

“We are pleased that 94% of holidaymakers have arrived home on the day of their original departure,” said Richard Moriarty, chief executive at the CAA.

Any remaining passengers who wanted to return after 7 October have been told they will have to make their own arrangements.

Those covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme, as the majority of Thomas Cook holidays were, will be refunded.

More from Thomas Cook

The CAA used some Thomas Cook staff during Operation Matterhorn but as the final flight lands, they will join the 9,000 or so colleagues left jobless.

Thomas Cook passengers queue in front of check-in desks on the second day of repatriations at Reus airport in Spain
Image: Some 150,000 passengers were brought back to the UK

As cabin crew worked their final rescue flights on Sunday, passengers described seeing many in tears.

“The staff were all crying,” one passenger told Sky News at Manchester Airport.

“And I started crying too. It was very emotional. They’ve done a fantastic job in getting us back.”

Another said he had been “worried” about getting home from his holiday in Tunisia, but was “very happy” about how it had been managed and praised the “brilliant Thomas Cook representative”.

Thomas Cook stopped trading on 28 September, after 178 years in business.

A parliamentary committee has begun to examine the actions of its management team in the company’s final months.

An inquiry has also been launched by the accounting watchdog into the firm’s auditors.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will look at the role of financial services firm EY in signing off the last set of accounts prior to the tour operator going bust.

The regulator said it would examine whether EY had acted correctly in its audit of the 2018 figures.

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