NATIONAL: Thousands of passengers left without flights after Monarch Airlines goes into administration
MORE than 100,000 airline passengers abroad have been left without flights after Monarch Airlines collapsed into administration.
The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation operation is under way to return the customers home.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had been asked by the government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers back to the UK after the airline’s board called in administrators KPMG in the early hours of this morning.
The collapse, the largest to hit a UK airline, has left some 300,000 future bookings cancelled and customers have been told to keep away from airports as there will be no more flights.
Passengers are urged to check a dedicated website for advice.
Administrator Blair Nimmo said Monarch, which employs around 2,100 people across its airline and tour group, had struggled with mounting costs and competitive market conditions that saw it suffer a period of sustained losses.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said the decision to stop trading would be ‘very distressing for all of its customers and employees’.
‘We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task,’ he said.
‘The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.’
The regulator said all Monarch customers who are abroad and due to return to the UK in the next two weeks will be flown home.
The flights will be at no extra cost to passengers and they do not need to cut short their stay, the CAA said. New flight details will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of customers’ original departure times.
The government has warned passengers to expect disruption and delay as it works to ensure there are enough flights to return the ‘huge number’ of passengers.
Customers affected by the company’s collapse have been urged to check a dedicated website, monarch.caa.co.uk, for advice and information on flights back to the UK. A 24-hour helpline is also available on 0300 303 2800 from in the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330330 from overseas.