FRANKFURT – Europe’s largest tourism company, TUI said on Sunday it had started collecting German holidaymakers in Spain to bring them home by bus while a volcanic ash cloud continues to halt flights across Europe.
“TUI…overnight started a big scheme to get guests back home from their holiday destinations across Europe,” it said.
Some 540 guests were flown from the Balearic island of Mallorca to Barcelona on the Spanish mainland coast overnight, where they spent the rest of the night, to be sent by road in a bus convoy to Frankfurt in Germany via France, it said.
Holidaymakers on the Spanish Canaries island of Gran Canaria would be flown to Alicante in Spain to board buses there on Sunday, it said.
Others on the Mediterranean island of Malta were being taken by ferry to Sicily in southern Italy.
TUI has been putting up stranded guests free of charge since Thursday and has extended that provision to Monday, it said.
TUI has cancelled all package tour starts up to at least 2400 GMT on Sunday.
TUI rival Thomas Cook (TCG.L), Europe’s second-biggest travel firm, also said in an overnight statement it had cancelled all its package tours at least until 1800 GMT on Sunday.
This applies to its brands Neckermann Reisen, Thomas Cook Reisen, Bucher Last Minute and Air Marin.
Many countries have in the meantime closed their airspace until well into Sunday or Monday.