Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley has blamed “incompetent” travel agents for the chaos surrounding the collapse of XL.

He told Sky News: “This highlights the futility and lack of independence of travel agents. They have no competence on how to advise customers of an airline’s financial viability.”

Customers should be checking the financial situation of an airline before they book rather than relying on a third party, he added.

Ryanair has offered the Civil Aviation Authority the use of one of its aircraft for the next two weeks. It has made one of its spare Boeing 737-800 aircraft available for XL passengers.