The 178 year old beleaguered travel firm Thomas Cook has 'ceased trading with immediate effect' after eleventh hour talks broke down prompting Britain's oldest travel operator to fold.
The collapse has left an estimated 100,000 Britons stranded abroad and across the nation up to a million more face holiday cancellations.
Manchester Airport has warned those set to fly out today to stay at home as flights as the tour operators flights are now grounded.
The task of repatriating those stranded abroad has been dubbed 'Project Matterhorn' and the government has chartered 45 planes in order to start bringing up to 150,000 holiday makers back home.
To make matters worse, the companies 21,000 staff now face an uncertain future, facing losing their jobs, 9,000 of those within the UK.
Holiday makers set to travel have been told to stay away from Airports as their flights and bookings are now cancelled.
Meanwhile those who have been left stranded face a lengthy wait for details about how they will eventually return home.
The closure of the tour operator was announced early this morning by the federal aviation authority (FAA), prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce that the Government had been asked to bail out the company with up to £150m of tax payers cash, which was refused, saying.
"Clearly that's a lot of taxpayers' money and sets up, as people will appreciate, a moral hazard in the case of future such commercial difficulties that companies face.
"It's a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers with Thomas Cook, the holiday makers, who may now face difficulties getting home. One way or the other the state will have to step in quite rightly to help stranded holidaymakers."
Manchester Airport has confirmed that 20 flights have been cancelled today with the final ever flight of a Thomas Cook plane landing earlier this morning.
As for getting back home, UK customers will be brought home "as close as possible" to their booked return date, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said, adding that a "small number" of passengers may need to book their own flight home and reclaim the costs.
The CAA has also been contacting hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers, who have booked as part of a package, telling them that the cost of their accommodation will be covered by the government, through the Air Travel Trust Fund and Atol scheme.
If you are on a package holiday then you will be covered by the Atol scheme which will pay for your accommodation abroad, although you may have to move to a different hotel or apartment during your extended stay. Atol will also pay to have you brought home if the airline is no longer operating.
If you have a future holiday booked then you will also be refunded by the scheme. If you have booked a flight-only deal you will need to apply to your travel insurance company or credit card and debit card provider to apply for a refund.
Edited by KARL