• UK Civil Aviation Authority launched largest peacetime repatriation 'Operation Matterhorn' on 23 September 2019 to bring more than 150,000 people back to the UK
  • More than 100 aircraft have been used as part of the Matterhorn fleet
  • Yesterday, 64 flights operated to bring back almost 14,000 passengers
  • 106,000 flown back to UK in the first seven days of the operation, over two-thirds of the total number to be repatriated.
  • About 94 per cent of people have flown back on the original days of their cancelled Thomas Cook flight
  • 53 flights are scheduled to operate today, 30 September, returning another 8,000 people
  • Operation Matterhorn continues until Sunday 6 October with nearly 1,000 flights planned in total
  • For people who booked ATOL protected holidays with Thomas Cook that have been cancelled, the CAA is launching a new process for what is the biggest ATOL refund programme ever

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We are pleased with the first week of Operation Matterhorn, but as we start the second week of our flying programme we remain firmly focussed on the enormity of the challenge we still have to deliver.  We have returned over one hundred thousand people to the UK, but there are still over 43,000 people on holiday abroad due to return on or before 6 October. The scale and complexity of this operation will inevitably cause some inconvenience and disruption and I would like to thank holidaymakers for bearing with us.

“We are now also turning our attention to the challenge of refunding 360,000 ATOL protected future Thomas Cook holidays that have been cancelled.  This will be three times larger than any refund programme we have managed before, and we are implementing new systems to enable us to process these refunds as quickly as possible. For around 100,000 bookings made by direct debit we hope to refund these within the next 14 days. Refunds of bookings made by other payment methods will take longer as we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook.  For these claims we will launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form. More information will be available on our website from 7 October.”

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


Flying programme information:


Statistics     Day 7 - 29/09/19     Totals to date
Flights completed      64      476
Passengers returning in the UK      13,770      106,917



The number of passengers reported is based on Thomas Cook booking data. It is likely that some passengers booked on these flights will choose to make alternative arrangements and therefore not fly, thus reducing the actual number of people who travel on our aircraft. The exact numbers will not be known until the end of the programme.  

We have now used over 100 different aircraft to support Operation Matterhorn. Our fleet size is consistently around 40 each day, but we have now used 100 different aircraft across the first six days.