THE refunding process has now opened for Thomas Cook customers who booked holidays to Spain and other countries.

It comes after the 178-year-old travel giant went bankrupt leaving 150,000 of its customers stranded abroad.

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‘Operation Matterhorn’ – the biggest peacetime repatriation of Brits – concluded this morning with a flight from Orlando bringing the last Thomas Cook passengers back to Manchester.

COLLAPSE: Refunds are now being processed for customers of Thomas Cook after the UK’s oldest travel agent went bust leaving 150,000 Brits stranded

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now begun the largest refund effort in its history under the ATOL scheme.

An online refunds claim form is now available at: thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds/

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STUCK: British Thomas Cook customers in Palma were the worst affected in Spain ©theOlivePress

“This will be used to refund more than 360,000 bookings for Thomas Cook ATOL protected holidays, covering trips that would have been taken by 800,000 people,” a CAA statement read.

It added: “ATOL protected customers who were abroad can also claim for the cost of replacing the ATOL protected parts of their trip, or out of pocket expenses as a result of delayed flights.”

Refunds are to be repaid within 60 days on the submission of a valid completed claim form.

More than 24,000 direct debit payments are already being processed this morning, according to the CAA.

CAA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton told Radio 4’s Today programme that she was ‘deeply relieved’ Operation Matterhorn was over.

The UK Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest travel agent.

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