• UK Civil Aviation Authority completes the largest peacetime repatriation plan 'Operation Matterhorn' today, bringing more than 140,000 people back to the UK
  • Final flight arrives from Orlando at Manchester Airport at 08:35 with 392 passengers onboard
  • About 94% of people have flown back on the original days of their cancelled Thomas Cook flight
  • Today the CAA launched the online form to process Thomas Cook ATOL refunds
  • ATOL's “largest ever” reimbursement programme, expecting more than 360,000 booking refund claims for 800,000 people

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is today due to complete Operation Matterhorn, repatriating around 140,000 Thomas Cook passengers following the company's liquidation on 23 September 2019.

The two-week flying programme, which involved the use of 150 aircraft from 50 partners from around the world, finishes later today, with the final flight arriving at Manchester Airport from Orlando with the last 392 passengers onboard.

The CAA has today also launched its online refund claims form for customers affected by the liquidation of Thomas Cook. The form is available on the UK CAA's dedicated Thomas Cook website - thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds. This will be used to refund more than 360,000 bookings for Thomas Cook ATOL protected holidays, covering trips that would have been taken by 800,000 people.

ATOL protected customers who were abroad can also claim for the cost of replacing the ATOL protected parts of their trip, or out of pocket expenses as a result of delayed flights. We aim to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid completed claim form. 

In addition, over 24,000 direct debit repayments are already in process, with all automatic direct debit refunds on track to be returned to customers by Monday, 14 October.

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Operation Matterhorn will shortly be complete. The largest peacetime repatriation ever required an extraordinary effort from all involved. I want to thank everyone who has played their part in delivering this enormous undertaking, including the passengers we flew home for bearing with us as we undertook this complex operation.

“I also want to pay tribute to the many amazing former Thomas Cook employees who worked with us to make this operation a success. It needed an unprecedented team effort from our commercial partners, our friends across government and my colleagues at the CAA.

 “We know that customers are devastated by the cancellation of their holidays. Those who bought a Thomas Cook ATOL protected holiday are entitled to a full refund of all the money they have paid towards the cost of their holiday. In addition to this, ATOL protected passengers that were abroad when the company went into liquidation might be able to claim for out of pocket expenses.

“The sheer number of refunds means this will be the largest ever ATOL reimbursement programme. The CAA is working around the clock with our partners so that customers receive their refunds as quickly as possible.”

Thomas Cook customers are reminded to check the dedicated website for further information - thomascook.caa.co.uk


Operation Matterhorn statistics

Statistics Operation total
Flights completed 746
Passengers returned to the UK 140,000+
UK airports for repatriation 10
Aircraft partners 50
Foreign airports 55
Future bookings 360,000
Hotel guarantees Over 3,400
CAA staff Over 400
Social media enquiries More than 24,000


Notes to editors

The figures included in early press releases were based on the passenger data provided to us by Thomas Cook.  The CAA organised the flying programme to provide seats for all expected passengers, some of whom will have chosen to change their plans or travel back to the UK via other means.  The CAA originally planned for approximately 150,000 people and ultimately returned more than 140,000.

Some holidays booked through Thomas Cook travel agents remain valid. This is because they are booked with another tour operator outside of the Thomas Cook Group. Consumers should check their booking documents and, if still unsure if the holiday is valid, confirm with their nearest ABTA approved travel agent.