The arrival of 265 passengers at Birmingham Airport from Cancun has marked the end of a mammoth repatriation programme mounted from TUI UK in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The long-haul flight was the final part of a finely orchestrated operation bringing 45,000 holidaymakers home.
The complex process was planned as government and local authority advice changed and countries closed their borders.
Hundreds more holidaymakers, unable to get home with the airlines they had travelled with, were also repatriated by TUI from destinations including Goa, Jamaica, Turkey, Spain and Marrakech.
The flights could not have been operated without the efforts of 964 TUI cabin crew and 362 flight crew team members, who put in over 11,000 flying hours to get customers home.
The repatriation effort was supported on the ground by over 2,500 TUI destination reps overseas who were on hand to help customers as they waited in their hotels and resorts before.
In the last ten days 192 TUI airways flights have taken off from 30 overseas airports in destinations across the world from Spain, Turkey and Greece to Mexico, Costa Rica and Thailand, bringing customers and 320 overseas destination reps back to 16 UK airports.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & I, commented: “I don’t think anyone could have imagined just a few months ago that we would be where we are today.
“We have dealt with the largest repatriation operation our business has ever seen, bringing 45,000 of our own customers, and hundreds of other holidaymakers, back from overseas, and now our operation, and the entire, travel industry is temporarily ‘on pause’.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who played their part in getting our customers home as safely and as quickly as possible.”