The rescue of almost 85,000 XL Leisure Group clients abroad when the company went bust will end on Saturday morning when the final charter flight returns.

Remaining passengers who flew out before the collapse on trips longer than two weeks will be booked on scheduled flights.

Up to 38,000 passengers were flown home in the past week, following more than 46,000 up to last weekend.

The Civil Aviation Authority will now begin processing up to 200,000 claims for refunds for advance bookings.

The regulator praised the trade for its role in helping holidaymakers overseas. The CAA is urging customers who booked through the trade to contact their agency first.

Agents who book a replacement holiday will then have to claim a refund from the CAA, which warned payouts may take longer than usual.

The CAA refused to comment on industry demands that consumer protection be extended to all flight bookings.