A British tour operator collapsed leaving thousands of holidaymakers abroad, the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed.

Greece and Turkey specialist Goldtrail went into administration at around 4pm yesterday with an estimated 16,000 people overseas.

The CAA said it was making arrangements to fly customers home at the end of their holiday under its ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licensing) scheme.

In a statement issued on its website last night, the aviation regulator said: "The CAA has taken steps to protect customers booked with Goldtrail Travel Limited after the company ceased trading this evening.

"Goldtrail Travel Ltd, trading as Goldtrail Holidays, Goldtrail Travel and Sunmar, held ATOL licence 4684 and was based in New Malden, Surrey. It operated flights and holiday packages from many UK airports to Turkey and Greece. It sold mainly through travel agents.

"The CAA, under its ATOL scheme, is making arrangements for customers abroad to travel home at the end of their holidays."

The majority of flights home from Turkey will operate as normal, the CAA said.

However, holidaymakers in Greece were warned to expect changes to flights and are advised to check with representatives at local airports.

The CAA said there were no more outbound Goldtrail flights and advised customers due to fly with the failed operator to check with their travel agent before leaving for the airport.

Goldtrail specialised in cheap holidays to Turkey including resorts such as Marmaris and Bodrum.

Aviation and media expert Julian Bray said the failure was not on the scale of the XL collapse in September 2008 which left 60,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad but warned customers may face a wait to get their money back.

He said: "Customers who have paid over £100 of the total invoice price by credit (i.e. not debit) card may be in a better position to recover some of monies paid to Goldtrail, otherwise customers will be subject to the administration process and could well wait some two years or more for a partial or full payment under travel industry bonding arrangements."

Holidaymakers bound for Turkey were stranded at Glasgow Airport after the collapse of Goldtrail.

Last night 180 passengers checked in for a flight to the Turkish resort of Bodrum and around three hours later learned they wouldn't be going on holiday after all.

Holidaymakers watched departure boards announce repeated delays before their 8.45pm flight was cancelled at around midnight.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: "People had checked in then the company went into administration."

A second charter flight for Turkey, due to leave at 9.30am, today was also cancelled.

The spokesman said that 180 passengers were due to fly to Bodrum last night and a similar number this morning.

A handful of Goldtrail customers who were booked to fly to Dalyan and Bodrum with the Turkish airline Onur Air today will also be forced to make alternative arrangements.

The Glasgow Airport spokesman said that Goldtrail was "a small player in Scotland".

He said: "Turkey is very well served from Scotland and there are lots of holiday companies that can step in."

The spokesman said that Barrhead Travel agent opened earlier than usual today to assist stranded passengers.

He also advised affected customers not to go to the airport but to contact their tour operator for assistance.

A flight bringing Goldtrail customers home from Turkey is due to arrive at Glasgow Airport at around 12.30pm today.

An Edinburgh Airport spokeswoman said that Goldtrail used Onur Air and Turkuaz Airlines to transport customers to Turkey, with flights due out on Tuesday and Thursday.

However, she was unable to confirm if customers of the collapsed firm were booked on to these flights.

An Aberdeen Airport spokesman said there was "minimal impact" from Goldtrail's collapse.

He said: "We're not anticipating any passengers to be affected over the next few days, we've no indication that anyone was booked to travel from Aberdeen."

Goldtrail customers can call the CAA on 0203 4410846 for information.