The British Department of Transport (DfT) is preparing a change of law which would allow the state to use the aircraft and staff of any bankrupt airline to repatriate its passengers stranded abroad, the Press Association has reported.

The new law would allow the government to place a bankrupt airline in special administration and continue using its assets to the extent required to repatriate all passengers.

The changes were proposed shortly after the repatriation of stranded Thomas Cook Group customers had ended. The government chartered around 150 aircraft from other operators after Thomas Cook Airlines UK (MT, Manchester Int'l) ceased operations. The chartered fleet eventually operated around 700 flights, costing the UK budget some GBP100 million pounds (USD126.2 million).

"I’m determined to bring in a better system to deal with similar situations in future, helping ensure passengers are protected and brought home quickly and safely," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Thomas Cook Airlines UK continues to own four aircraft: one A321 and three A330-200s. All four have been grounded since the firm's bankruptcy on September 23 and were not used during the rescue operations for customers stranded abroad.

Meanwhile, German unit Condor (DE, Frankfurt Int'l), which continues to operate for individual customers and other tour operators, has been forced to interrupt its services to Djerba in Tunisia due to concerns related to its parent's debt. Although Condor has filed for the so-called "protective screen" (Schutzschirmverfahren), which shields German subsidiaries from the liquidation of foreign-related companies, a Tunisian hotel was trying to impound the German's carrier aircraft, aeroTELEGRAPH has reported.

"We had specific information from authorities about claims against the Thomas Cook Group in Tunisia which could be enforced against Condor," the carrier said, underlining that such claims were unlawful and were not related to Condor itself.

Flightradar24 ADS-B data indicates that Condor operated its morning flight from Düsseldorf to Djerba on October 11 but cancelled services from Frankfurt Int'l and Hanover later during the day. The German airline flies to the Tunisian airport only on Fridays, once from each of the three Gerrman cities.