The repatriation efforts to get Monarch customers home was interrupted by French air traffic controller strikes, the CAA has said.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s flying programme completed 22 flights during its ninth day of operation on Tuesday – despite the “significant disruption” -returning 5,272 people to the UK. Four flights were cancelled.

On Wednesday, the CAA operated a further 30 flights, bringing 5,224 more people back to the UK. It planned a further 33 flights on Thursday, to bring back more than 4,600 passengers afected by the Monarch collapse.

The CAA says it is “working round the clock” to get the remaining 20,000 passengers home. It says it “remains on course” to bring everyone affected by the Monarch collapse home. So far, more than 79,000 have been repatriated.

Air traffic controllers walked out for the seventh time this year in a dispute over French labour reform.

“While this action was totally outside of our control, and we recognise the impact this has had on passengers, we did everything possible to support passengers flying back to the UK,” a spokesperson sad.

A total of 110,000 affected passengers were abroad at the time of Monarch’s collapse early last week.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said: “Our two week flying programme to bring home 110,000 people from across the Mediterranean and beyond remains on course, however, like other airlines, some flights experienced significant disruption due to the French air traffic control strike.

“While this disruption was totally outside of our control, I can reassure passengers that we are doing everything within our power to deliver an efficient service.

“The CAA continues to work around the clock, in conjunction with the Government, to deliver our replacement flying programme.”

The CAA’s main flight programme finishes on Sunday October 15 and further information is available on the authority’s website.