TOUR operator Thomas Cook has asked the government to help fill the gap in its funding.

The travel company could fall into administration this weekend unless it finds £200m in extra funds needed to secure its future.

A collapse would leave 150,000 UK holidaymakers stranded.

The troubled operator was hoping for a rescue led by China's Fosun this week. But the creditor banks issued a last-minute demand that the travel company find an extra £200m to ensure a stable next few months.

The Civil Aviation Authority is on standby with a repatriation contingency plan called Operation Matterhorn. The cost of bringing home passengers this way is believed to be around £600m.