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Final flights wrap up Thomas Cook repatriation programme

Final flights for the Thomas Cook Group repatriation programme are due to land on 7 October, 14 days after the leisure firm collapsed.

The last day of the programme involved 24 flights transporting 4,800 passengers.

UK Civil Aviation Authority schedules indicate that the final services include flights arriving from Turkey, Cyprus and Orlando. An Orlando flight to Manchester, with 392 passengers, is set to be the last to land at around 08:30.

Some 150 different aircraft, and 50 operators, have participated in the two-week 'Operation Matterhorn' and collectively have returned 140,000 customers, the authority states, although the daily fleet has typically comprised around 40. The programme has involved about 750 flights.

Most customers were flown back in the first week of the operation, with nearly 105,000 passengers transported on 497 flights. This data is drawn from confirmed passengers, rather than the initial estimates which were based on Thomas Cook booking information.

The number of passengers subsequently dropped significantly as the programme entered its second week.

Around 94% of passengers have been flown back on the date when their original Thomas Cook return service was due to operate, the authority claims.

The authority is preparing to shut, on 11 October, a service which has been booking flights on scheduled airlines operating after the repatriation programme closes, for passengers protected under the ATOL licensing scheme.

It has opened an online refund scheme which will handle more than 360,000 bookings for ATOL-protected holidays cancelled as a result of Thomas Cook's liquidation on 23 September. Chief executive Richard Moriarty says the "sheer number of refunds" make it the largest ever ATOL reimbursement.

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