Over 1,000 flights are being planned for the two-week ‘Operation Matterhorn’ repatriation programme following leisure giant Thomas Cook Group’s collapse.
The first day of the programme, 23 September, involved 64 flights and the transport of more than 14,700 passengers – over 95% of those due to return from holiday on that date, says the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
It states that another 74 flights carrying 16,500 customers are scheduled to operate on 24 September, and that more than 1,000 flights will be carried out by the time the repatriation ends on 6 October.
“We will do everything we can to minimise [disruption to passengers] as the operation continues,” says chief executive Richard Moriarty.
It has not identified specific carriers involved in the repatriation but various operators – from flag carriers and budget airlines to wet-lease specialists and leisure airlines – were recruited to conduct a similar effort when Monarch Airlines ceased flying two years ago.
Thomas Cook Airlines, ironically, had been among the carriers assisting with that programme, and the airline subsequently picked up several ex-Monarch aircraft to add to its own fleet.