Around 285,000 passengers are estimated to be impacted after UK tour operator XL Leisure Group, the parent of in-house carrier XL Airways UK, entered administration early this morning.
The UK operation filed for administration after failing to secure additional funding amid volatile fuel prices and the economic downturn. Administrators subsequently said the business could not continue to trade and immediately ceased flights.
The UK CAA estimates that there are around 50,000 tour operator customers of XL Leisure Group abroad, a further 10,000 abroad with XL Airways and another 25,000 with other tour operators. A further 200,000 customers have advance bookings with the XL tour operators.
XL Leisure Group tour operators flew principally from the UK airports of London Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow to holiday resorts in the Mediterranean as well some long-haul holidays in Florida and the Caribbean.
"The CAA is working with the group's administrator, Kroll, major tour operators, including Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays, and airlines to ensure that UK customers currently abroad are taken care of.
"Since XL Airways is no longer operating, flights to bring people home will be made with other airlines."
Director of the CAA's consumer protection group, Richard Jackson, says: "This is a huge undertaking and we are working closely with the travel industry to protect and bring home the customers of the failed tour operators."
The French and German divisions of the XL Group are unaffected by the failure of the UK operation and continue to trade normally.
According to Flight's ACAS database, XL Airlines UK has been operating a leased fleet of a dozen Boeing 737-800/900s and four Boeing 757/767 aircraft.
Lead image credit: AirTeamImages.com