A 486 seat Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 operating as flight number MH8490 touched down at Manchester Airport just after midnight, following a 13-hour flight from Kula Lumpur.
According to Arearonews.ro the A380 registration number 9M-MNF will operate two flights a day to the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca, bringing back stranded holidaymakers.
As part of a repatriation plan codenamed “Operation Matterhorn,” the Malaysian Airlines A380 and another 39 aircraft will bring stranded British tourists back to the UK.
🔴 Many planes arrive tonight in Manchester to prepare the repatriation of Thomas Cook’s passengers.
▫️A Malaysia Airlines A380 comes empty from Kuala Lumpur.
— air plus news (english) (@airplusnews_EN) September 22, 2019
Thomas Cook was the oldest travel company in the world
British high street travel agent Thomas Cook went bust Monday, September 23rd, 2019 leaving around 600,000 customers stranded all over the world.
Of that more than half a million tourists 150,000 are British prompting the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the British Department for Transport to mount a rescue operation.
El #Airbus #A380 de #MalaysiaAirlines tiene previsto operar a Palma de Mallorca dos veces al día desde Manchester durante toda la semana que viene para repatriar a las personas que tenían su billete con #ThomasCook pic.twitter.com/MzzRxnoCK2
— On The Wings of Aviation (@OnAviation) September 23, 2019
The failure of the 178-year-old travel company has not only left tourists not knowing how they will get home, but it has also put 20,000 people out of a job. UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) calls the rescue flights the “largest peacetime repatriation effort” in British history.
A statement issued by the CAA says there are “more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad, almost twice the number that were repatriated following the failure of Monarch.”
The CAA has said that they have put together a fleet of 40 aircraft and will begin flying people home starting today, September 23rd through October 6th.
Holidaymakers have been left stranded in 18 different counties
The stranded 150,000 UK holidaymakers are spread over 18 different countries, making the undertaking a mammoth task.
If you happen to be one of the people left stranded by the Thomas Cook collapse you need to visit a website the CAA has set up for advice and information.
“Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Cooks German airline, Condor will continue to operate flights as normal.
On Condors Twitter feed the company tweeted: “Update on current media articles: Condor continues to fly! Flights are operating as scheduled.”
The A380 is the perfect aircraft for situations like this
While much loved by the flying public, the A380 has had airlines scrambling to retire them in favor of more fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft like the Airbus A350.
The ability, however, to transport nearly 500 people on a 2hr 35 minute flight from Mallorca to Manchester showcases how the A380 is useful in evacuating a lot of people in a short amount of time.
Traditional holiday companies like Thomas Cook were too slow in adapting to the shopping habits of the majority of people, preferring instead to hang on to an aging population that would rather walk into a shop than make a few clicks on the Internet.
Having said that, the government could have propped the company up until it could come up with a better business plan, that didn’t include high-street shops. Instead of that, they will pay millions of pounds for repatriation flights that they could have used to protect the jobs of some of the 20,000 employees who will now be collecting unemployment.
Other airlines involved in the repatriation process include British Airways, EuroAtlantic, HiFly, easyJet, Wamos, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Nile Air, Evelop, Atlas, Freebird, Smartlynx, Danish Air Transport, Titan Airways, and Miami Air.