Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 2nd October 2017
Monarch Airlines has become insolvent and ceased trading as a result of “mounting cost pressures and increasingly competitive market conditions,” administrators have confirmed.
The business was entered into administration in the early hours of October 2nd because it was necessary for its aircraft to be grounded as that process took place.
Close to 300,000 bookings with the airline have now been cancelled, including all scheduled flights out of the UK.
An estimated 110,000 Monarch customers are currently outside the UK having flown from Britain with the airline.
Administrators have said that they will be working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to charter planes and bring back those Monarch customers in the coming days.
“Our primary focus for the next 48 hours is to work with the Civil Aviation Authority to provide the infrastructure and information needed to help the government and CAA with the safe repatriation of approximately all the 110,000 customers who are currently overseas,” said Blair Nimmo, one of the appointed administrators from KPMG.
“This includes all those whose trip is not specifically covered by ATOL protection. The CAA has provided funding to enable the group to retain a number of employees to assist us with the provision of this information.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has described the process of returning Monarch’s customers to the UK as the “biggest ever peacetime repatriation”.
Around 2,100 people worked for Monarch as it entered insolvency and the airline is the largest ever from the UK to collapse into administration.
The business reported heavy financial losses after its most recent financial year and administrators cited a stiffening of competition in the European short-haul flights industry as a key contributing factor in the airline’s demise.
A new website at monarch.caa.co.uk has been created to provide guidance and advice to anyone impacted by Monarch’s collapse.
A total of 30 planes have been chartered by the CAA to ensure that the tens of thousands of affected Monarch customers can make their way back to the UK during the next two weeks.
“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,” said Andrew Haines, CAA chief executive.
“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.”