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European governments start repatriation of tens of thousands of Thomas Cook customers in Spain

UK government officials offer advice to tourists at Palma airport in Mallorca.
UK government officials offer advice to tourists at Palma airport in Mallorca. / EFE
  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched an operation to take home 100,000 British holidaymakers stuck around the world

  • Thomas Cook operated flights from UK to Almeria, Alicante, Reus and Gerona on mainland Spain as well as seven airports on the islands

The UK government is making arrangements to repatriate thousands of holidaymakers trapped in Spain following the collapse of holiday giant Thomas Cook early on Monday morning.

The Thomas Cook crisis has affected some 600,000 tourists stranded around the world as their return flights were cancelled when the operator ceased trading early Monday morning.

Governments around Europe have launched major repatriation operations, with the UK making alternative arrangements for more than 150,000 British tourists at various destinations.

While Thomas Cook stopped operating flights to Malaga and the Costa del Sol two years ago, British holidaymakers due to travel home from 11 Spanish airports are affected.

These are Alicante, Almeria, Gerona and Reus on the mainland, Ibiza, Menorca and Palma in the Balearics and Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife in the Canaries.

It is thought that more than 25,000 holidaymakers are affected in the Canary Islands alone, according to a hoteliers spokesperson in Las Palmas.

Almeria

The only airport to be affected in Andalucía is Almeria where some 12 flights to Birmingham, London and Manchester were cancelled on Monday.

Thomas Cook only flew holidaymakers to Almeria in spring and summer but numerous flights had been scheduled between now and the end of September. The company also operated links between Almeria and Bristol.

It is thought that around 1,800 British customers were on holiday in Almeria when Thomas Cook ceased trading on Monday morning, mainly in resorts in Roquetas del Mar and Mojácar, among other destinations.

Costa del Sol

The collapse of Thomas Cook is thought to have caught between 500 and 1,000 of the customers on holiday on the Costa del Sol. None of them has been left without a flight home, however, as the operator stopped using Malaga Airport two years ago and its holidaymakers travelled with different airlines.

According to the Costa del Sol hoteliers' association Thomas Cook sent customers to 12 hotels in the province of Malaga, the biggest part of them to hotels of the MS group in Torremolinos.