MONARCH AIRLINES has filed for administration this morning, as the company enters bankruptcy proceedings following the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) decision to revoke the company’s operating licence, leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded abroad.
The CAA confirmed earlier this morning that Monarch Airlines had ceased operations with immediate effect, leaving 110,000 passengers overseas and 300,000 future bookings cancelled. The authority has launched a repatriation campaign on behalf of the UK Government to charter more than 30 commercial aircraft to return stranded passengers back home.
The UK based budget airline headquartered in Luton employs more than 3,000 staff, and had been due to replace it’s 35 strong fleet of Airbus A300 series aircraft with 45 all new Boeing 737 jets from next year.
News of the company’s rapid collapse has been slow to disseminate, and as of this morning, Monarch scheduled flights are still showing on Alicante airport’s arrivals board.
Passengers and visitors to the Monarch Airlines website are redirected to a page hosted by the CAA which states “Monarch has confirmed that they have ceased trading and now entered administration. As a result, we are sorry to inform you that, as of 2 October 2017, all future holidays and flights have been cancelled and are no longer operating”.
The official advice states “If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Monarch Airlines today or in the future, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating”.
Overseas travellers are urged to continue to enjoy their holiday abroad, and that an alternative flight will be provided free of any additional charge up to and including flights due to depart for the UK on 15th October 2017.
According to the new website, the CAA are operating 6 flights per day from Alicante airport to three destinations in the UK: Manchester, Birmingham, and London Gatwick airports.
Monarch Airlines: a company in crisis
Monarch had been in crisis since 2014, when private investment company and turnaround specialist Greybull Capital purchased the enterprise for a nominal sum just hours before Monarch’s ATOL licence with the Civil Aviation Authority expired.
Greybull subsequently launched a strategic review of the company’s operations, reducing the fleet size from 42 to 34 aircraft, and closing the regional office at East Midlands Airport.
However, passenger numbers continued to fall, with the company reporting a 8.6% fall in passenger numbers for 2015, and a further reduction of 5.0% for the 2016 year.
Demand for flights on Monarch’s major holiday routes to Egypt and Turkey continued to fall due to ongoing political crisis in the Middle East, and at home, the company suffered financially following the sustained devaluation of Sterling.
The CAA has launched a dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk, to provide advice and information for affected customers, and a 24 hour helpline (0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330330 from overseas) to provide additional assistance.
Photo credit: LaZenia.com