UK flies home thousands of travelers stranded by tour operator's collapse

UK flies home thousands of travelers stranded by tour operator's collapse
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The United Kingdom government has reportedly flown home the first group of 14,500 people in the first day after tour operator and airline Thomas Cook collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded around the world.

Another 74 flights are scheduled to bring back 16,500 more people to Britain on Tuesday, The New York Times reports, adding that 135,000 passengers are expected to be repatriated over the next two weeks. After Oct. 6, passengers reportedly have to make their own arrangements.

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Deirdre Hutton, chairwoman of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority, called the repatriation the largest peacetime effort of its kind in British history, according to the newspaper.

“Nobody is stranded, everybody will get their holiday and they will be brought back at the time they would have come back anyway,” she said. “I’m conscious that we’ve got a huge job to do still, because that’s about 8 percent of the total, but a reasonable start.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook subsidiaries are still operating, the Times notes, and can help bring passengers home from other countries.

Thomas Cook shut down after failing over the weekend to get at least 200 million pounds, or $250 million, in emergency funding.

The company said Friday that about 600,000 people were traveling abroad using its services.