Thousands of Kuoni holidaymakers have been repatriated from across the world in just a few days in a race against time as borders closed and airlines cut services.

The last customer arrived back into Heathrow from the Philippines on Wednesday as staff battled against accelerating flight cancellations and travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The operator had more than 2,000 customers in more than 70 destinations around the world, from Costa Rica to Tanzania and Mexico to New Zealand.

The company re-organised its team to take on the task of ensuring  all travellers returned safely to the UK, working with stranded customers, airlines, transfer companies and contacts on the ground.

Chief executive Derek Jones said: “I have to pay tribute to our team who have been outstanding, working around the clock to undertake a task to bring every single customer back to the UK, which at the start of this year we never ever thought we’d have to do.

“For the first time in the company’s history, we now have no customers overseas which would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago.


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“Our attention is now firmly on customers who have future bookings and need help to re-shape their holiday plans, making sure if they can no longer travel as planned they are offered the best possible alternative.

“A ray of light has been some of the amazing comments we’ve had from customers, who were understandably worried and stranded, some in difficult circumstances, but their appreciation and support has been heartening.

“We’ve pulled out all the stops and I couldn’t be prouder of the team right now.”