UK plans to fly 135,300 people back after Thomas Cook collapse

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The 178-year-old company had said Friday it was seeking £200 million ($250 million) to avoid going bust and was in weekend talks with shareholders and creditors to stave off failure. (AFP)
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Running hotels, resorts and airlines, Thomas Cook has 600,000 customers on holiday, meaning governments could be forced to step in if the company goes into administration. (Reuters/File)
Updated 24 September 2019

UK plans to fly 135,300 people back after Thomas Cook collapse

  • Emergency flights brought 14,700 people back to the United Kingdom on Monday
  • Seventy-four flights were scheduled on Tuesday, to bring back 16,500 people. More than 1,000 flights are planned

LONDON: Emergency flights brought 14,700 people back to the United Kingdom on Monday after the collapse of travel firm Thomas Cook, and around 135,300 more are expected to be returned over the next 13 days, Britain's aviation regulator said.
The collapse of Thomas Cook in the early hours of Monday left hundreds of thousands of people stranded at holiday destinations around the world.
"With 13 days remaining and approximately 135,300 passengers still to bring back to the UK, we are working around the clock, in conjunction with the government and the aviation industry, to deliver the flying programme after Thomas Cook ceased trading," the regulator said.
More than 14,700 people were returned to the UK on Monday on 64 flights. Seventy-four flights were scheduled on Tuesday, to bring back 16,500 people. More than 1,000 flights are planned.
"A repatriation of this scale and nature is unprecedented and unfortunately there will be some inconvenience and disruption for customers. We will do everything we can to minimise this as the operation continues," Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive at the Civil Aviation Authority, said.
"We want people to continue to enjoy their holiday, so we will bring them back to the UK on their original departure day, or very soon thereafter."


Hong Kong airport transit from June 1 excludes mainland flights: Cathay Pacific

Updated 7 min 34 sec ago

Hong Kong airport transit from June 1 excludes mainland flights: Cathay Pacific

  • Transit through the airport has been barred since March 25
  • Cathay has cut capacity by around 97 percent due to a fall in demand and strict quarantine regulations

SYDNEY: Cathay Pacific Airways said on Saturday that the reopening of transit services for passengers at Hong Kong International Airport from June 1 will not include those traveling to and from mainland China.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced earlier this week that some transit passengers would be allowed through the hub from Monday, but did not provide further details. Transit through the airport has been barred since March 25 as part of measures taken to help control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cathay said travelers could transit Hong Kong if their itinerary was on a single booking and the connection time to the next flight was within eight hours.
“In this first phase, transiting to and from destinations in mainland China is not available,” the airline said on its website.
China’s aviation regulator has been flooded with tens of thousands of social media comments criticizing it and the Chinese government for the small number of flight options to bring home people stranded overseas.
The regulator drastically reduced the number of allowed international flights to prevent the potential of importing COVID-19 infections. Many foreign airlines are barred altogether and mainland carriers can fly just one weekly passenger flight on one route to any country, which has sent fares skyrocketing.
That rule does not apply to airlines from Hong Kong, such as Cathay, which are allowed more flights to and from the mainland, but the airline’s statement on Saturday indicated it cannot immediately take advantage of the boom in demand.
Cathay has cut capacity by around 97 percent due to a fall in demand and strict quarantine regulations associated with the pandemic.
Rival Asian hub Singapore, which is not allowed nearly as many mainland flights, is gradually allowing some transit traffic to resume from June 2.