Thomas Cook rescue flights take off from Shannon

Thomas Cook rescue flights take off from Shannon


Two Eastern Airlines aircraft being readied for departure as part of the repatriation operation – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

The first of three flights that will take part in the mass repatriation of stranded Thomas Cook holidaymakers has taken off from Shannon Airport. 

Two more aircraft are due to depart later this afternoon after three jets were flown from the U.S. to Shannon yesterday.

The repatriation of over 150,000 passengers stranded overseas got underway today and is expected to continue until October 6th and cost millions of euro. It’s understood that as many as 600,000 customers in total have been affected by the group’s collapse.

Two Eastern Airlines Boeing 767-300s, with full crew, were flown from Miami to Shannon yesterday afternoon while a third aircraft arrived late last night.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

After the crew had rested overnight, the first rescue flight departed this morning for the Spanish Island of Menorca to collect passengers and fly them to Gatwick Airport in England. The other two aircraft will fly out this afternoon to yet unknown locations.

The Thomas Cook Group website confirmed: “The (UK) Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything we can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019. Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.”

“This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers,” the company’s website states.

Thomas Cook Group had also previously used Shannon Airport as a training base for its pilots.

A Thomas Cook Airbus A321 pictured during a crew training detail at Shannon – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017


Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.