British airline Monarch ends operations
Monarch Airlines has ceased trading and its 300,000 future bookings for flights and holidays have been cancelled, the Civil Aviation Authority has said.
About 110,000 customers are currently overseas and the government has asked the CAA to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring them back to the UK.
Monarch is the UK’s fifth biggest airline and the country’s largest ever to go into administration.
Customers due to fly from the UK have been told not to go to the airport.
Monarch had been in last-ditch talks with the CAA about renewing its licence to sell package holidays.
It had until midnight on Sunday to reach a deal with the aviation authority but failed to do so.
Advice to Monarch customers, issued by CAA
- Customers in the UK yet to travel: Don’t go to the airport
- Customers abroad: Everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short a stay
- Customers currently overseas should check monarch.caa.co.uk for confirmation of their new flight details – which will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of their original departure time
- All affected customers should keep checking monarch.caa.co.uk for more information
- The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330330 from overseas
The CAA said the situation was “unprecedented”, but the 110,000 customers currently overseas would be returned home at no additional cost to them.
Dame Deirdre Hutton, chairwoman of the authority, said passengers from as far away as Tel Aviv would require repatriation and that two “rescue flights” from Ibiza had already taken off.
She asked passengers for patience, saying the CAA was having to effectively create one of the UK’s largest airlines overnight, adding: “It is a huge undertaking.”
The CAA said the “vast majority” of customers due to fly on Monday would return by the end of the day.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said the “scale” of the operation means “some disruption is inevitable”.
He added: “We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he had ordered “the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation”.
“This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad – and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.”
However, 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.