Hundreds of thousands of tourists have been stranded and more than 300,000 bookings have been cancelled after Luton-based Monarch Airlines became Britain’s largest carrier to go into administration.

The UK government has ordered a huge rescue operation to bring passengers back home. For this, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been ordered to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring UK passengers home over the next two weeks. Passengers booked on outgoing flights received a brief text message which read: “Important! Monarch has stopped operating. Please do not go to the airport.”

The airline has published the following message on its website:

“We are sorry to inform you that all future holidays and flights booked with Monarch are now cancelled as of 2 October 2017. If you are booked on a Monarch Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating. If you are currently abroad and due to return to the UK on or before 15 October 2017 we are making arrangements for you to return home to the UK on a new flight, at the end of your holiday. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you. We will of course prioritise vulnerable passengers, including unaccompanied minors, and make sure that family groups travel on the same flights.”