London, UK - With the collapse of the British travel group Thomas Cook, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launches the largest repatriation operation in peacetime.
In the next two weeks, dozens of aircraft will be deployed to return around 150,000 stranded holidaymakers to the country.
The number of stranded British tourists is twice as high as it was two years ago when another British leisure operator Monarch Airlines went bankrupt.
According to the British government, 600,000 Thomas Cook customers are stranded worldwide. The British government has ordered the CAA to set up a two-week repatriation program, called 'Operation Matterhorn'.
The stranded travelers will fly back to the UK free of charge. Anyone traveling after October 6, will have to arrange their flights themselves.
The CAA said that it has secured planes from all over the world to pick up stranded travelers. This includes an Airbus A380 from Malaysia Airlines and a Boeing 767s from the American charter operator Eastern Airlines.
The British Civil Aviation Agency has launched a website where information about the repatriation flights can be found. This only applies to travelers who have traveled with Thomas Cook Airlines from a British airport.
The fleet of Thomas Cook Airlines currently remains grounded due to the bankruptcy of the parent company Thomas Cook Group. The British news agency BBC reports that creditors already began to seize the company's airplanes.
Thomas Cook Airlines carried its last flight from Orlando to Manchester. The aircraft arrived at the Manchester International Airport this morning.