The aviation regulator’s two-week programme of almost 570 special flights to repatriate holidaymakers from abroad following the Monarch collapse was completed today.
The last flight touched down at Luton airport at just after 3.30am this morning with 122 passengers from Tel Aviv.
The final day included 23 flights with seats for 4,500 people from 20 destinations.
The Civil Aviation Authority operation saw more than 60 aircraft from 27 airlines chartered to bring back almost 84,000 Monarch customers.
The rescue operation covered flights to six UK airports from more than 30 destinations in 14 countries across the Mediterranean and beyond, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Sweden and Israel. In total, the operation has flown more than 1.5 million miles.
While the main repatriation programme has now ended, the CAA is contacting 1,000 Atol protected passengers still abroad in order to arrange alternative flights to get them home when their trip has ended.
A dedicated website at monarch.caa.co.uk will remain open with additional information for passengers still abroad.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We will continue to support Atol protected customers yet to return to the UK and have already started to refund Atol protected passengers who have sadly lost their holiday.”
Reviewing the repatriation operation, he said: “This has been a phenomenal challenge and one that has required the co-operation and support of many businesses, government departments and individuals.
“I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has played their part. Completing this unique two-week flying programme has only been possible because of the dedication and commitment of so many people.
“It was a very sad day when Monarch went into administration and our thoughts remain with all the Monarch employees who have lost their jobs.
“We know that companies across the aviation sector are identifying opportunities for Monarch staff and we will do all that we can to offer support where possible. The UK has a strong and successful aviation industry and the skills offered by Monarch employees are sure to be in demand.
“We’ve operated almost 570 dedicated flights to return passengers to the UK, with 98% of passengers arriving home on the day of their original departure.
“Like any other airline, we faced operational challenges, including bad weather and air traffic control strikes. Despite this, so much of the feedback we have received from passengers has been very positive.
“This was not a job that any of us wanted to do but we are pleased to have all played our part in Britain’s largest peacetime repatriation.”
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