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Thomas Cook refunds to take up to two months, with 35,000 passengers still to fly home

More than 100 aircraft have been used as part of the UK’s repatriation fleet and some 115,000 people have been flown back to the UK.

Image: PA

THOMAS COOK CUSTOMERS have been told they may be waiting up to two months to receive a refund for cancelled holidays.

The British travel group declared bankruptcy last week leaving 22,000 global employees without a job and 600,000 tourists stranded, including 150,000 holidaymakers seeking to return to Britain. 

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said this week that its refund programme will be three times larger than any programme it has run before.

Chief executive Richard Moriarty said yesterday the authority is implementing new systems to enable it to process the refunds as quickly as possible.

“For around 100,000 bookings made by direct debit we hope to refund these within the next 14 days. Refunds of bookings made by other payment methods will take longer as we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook.

“For these claims we will launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form.”

The refund form was due to be launched yesterday but the CAA said this had to be delayed due to demand.

Irish passengers who booked a Thomas Cook package through an Irish travel agent should also be covered by the CAA’s Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Atol) scheme. This means they can receive a refund for cancelled flights or accommodation.

Irish consumers who are already abroad can also avail of the repatriation flights to the UK, as they would have flown through the UK initially. 

This morning the CAA gave an update on its operation to fly home UK passengers who received the news of the company’s collapse while they were already on holiday.

More than 100 aircraft have been used as part of the operation fleet and some 115,000 people have been flown back to the UK in the first eight days of Operation Matterhorn.

Today alone there are 39 flights scheduled to operate, returning another 7,000 people.

Some 35,000 passengers are still due to return on these flights which will continue until 6 October.

“As we start the second week of our flying programme, we remain firmly focussed on the enormity of the challenge we still have to deliver,” Moriarty said today.

“We have returned over three quarters of Thomas Cook passengers back to the UK and are now also working on the challenge of refunding the 360,000 Atol protected future bookings as soon as possible.

“The scale and complexity of our repatriation and refund operations will inevitably cause some inconvenience and disruption and I would like to thank Thomas Cook customers for bearing with us.”

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