As many as 50,000 British holidaymakers face disruption to their summer breaks after tour operator Goldtrail collapsed.
Goldtrail, a Turkey and Greece specialist operator, ceased trading on Friday 16 July as it went into administration.
At the time, around 15,000 Britons were abroad with the company, 9,000 flew home over the weekend. The rest stayed to finish their holidays and will fly home through this week and next. It has been estimated that the company has around 50,000 forward bookings.
The Civil Aviation Authority has announced it will protect customers under its Air Travel Organiser's Licensing (ATOL) scheme, meaning those currently abroad will be guaranteed flights back and those yet to holiday will be entitled to a full refund.
Jonathan Nicholson, spokesperson for the CAA says: "Unfortunately this kind of failure happens every year, with approximately 10 to 15 tour operators ceasing trading each year. The ATOL scheme was set up 30 years ago and any tour operator selling air travel has to be ATOL included."
He said one of the greatest benefits of booking with an ATOL included company is that if you are on holiday when the company collapses you will be allowed to finish your holiday before flying back.
For those who were due to fly out with Goldtrail in the coming weeks there are a number of options: "They could choose not to go on holiday and pocket the money when their refund comes through," says Nicholson, "Or if they have the money, they could book something else upfront."
If their trip was booked through a travel agent another option would be to ask for a new holiday in exchange for the refund. The travel agent will then put the claim in for the refund and keep the money when it comes through.
This policy is entirely at the discretion of the travel agent, but will be particularly useful for people who are inflexible about when they can go on holiday and don't want to have to stay in the UK.
If the holiday was booked directly with Goldtrail, customers will have to fill in a claim form, which can be found on the CAA website.
The refund process is likely to take a few months, rather than weeks, Nicholson admitted, but everyone will eventually get their money back.
Among Brits who are currently abroad, there have been instances of smaller hotels demanding payment because they fear they won't see the money they are owed from the tour operator.
Nicholson advises contacting the CAA (details below) if this happens to you, a friend, or family member and a representative of the authority will speak to the hotel staff to explain the protection offered by the ATOL scheme.
Contact details of CAA:
0044 203 4410846.