Case Studies

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Case Studies

Thomas Cook Passenger Repatriation

Posted Aug 31, 2021

Thomas Cook

The client

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is a public corporation of the Department for Transport. The CAA are the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, part of their remit is to ensure consumers are protected and treated fairly when they fly.

The challenge

In 2019 over 150,000 Thomas Cook customers and crew were left stranded overseas following the collapse of the trusted travel firm.

The government and UK CAA hired dozens of charter planes to fly people home free of charge, wherever they were in the world.

A quarter of the stranded passengers were returned to a different UK airport from the one they left. Therefore, coaches and taxis were required to transport 40,000 passengers to their original departure airport across a two-week period.

The solution

CMAC’s strong relationship with the CAA allowed us to work effectively to execute a pre-arranged repatriation plan. Our team of industry experts worked around the clock under intense pressure to ensure the safe travel of passengers and deliver a large-scale recovery at short notice with the highest levels of customer service.

CMAC rapidly allocated coaches to airports across the UK and over a two-week period provided 1,150 coaches and 916 taxis to move 40,000 passengers at a time they needed us most.

Alongside a manged transport service, we provided ground staff at five major airports, to ensure there was minimum inconvenience for those experiencing disruption, with additional staff assigned to deliver round-the-clock support at the CAA’s Canary Wharf site.

In difficult and high-profile circumstances, CMAC was able to demonstrate its unfailing ability to look after clients and exceed expectations at every possible opportunity.

‘Operation Matterhorn’ became the largest ever peacetime repatriation of UK Citizens. CMAC’s work has been recognised externally as ‘The Most Effective Recovery of the Year’.

CMAC Group had experience of large-scale rescues with the CAA following the collapse of Monarch Airlines in 2017.

CMAC were an essential and valued member of the team. All involved responded promptly to changing needs and made sure that Thomas Cook clients were treated with care and sensitivity at a very stressful time for them. After working with CMAC over the Monarch Airlines repatriation exercise in 2017, the CAA did not hesitate about using the company again to assist with the Thomas Cook repatriation exercise. This beat Monarch as being the largest repatriation exercise in peacetime and involved more passengers, airports and destinations.

Richard Moriarty

CEO, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

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