Chaos reigns after sudden collapse
ALMOST 30 Monarch flights to and from Birmingham Airport were cancelled as the firm collapsed on Monday, causing disruption and confusion for thousands of West Midland passengers.
The airport issued a “stay away” plea to travellers who had been due to fly with the doomed firm.
Many others who should have been jetting home were left with long delays as they scrambled to catch rescue flights.
Around 410,000 customers in total were affected after Monarch Airlines went into administration because including 300,000 with future bookings.
The Civil Aviation Authority ( CAA) said it had been asked by the government to charter more than 30 aircraft for the operation.
One couple due to fly with Monarch on Monday arrived to find the airport at a standstill.
Martin and Ginny Hester had been due to fly to Madeira, paying £ 426 for flights. But on Monday they had to fork out a further £ 610 to reach their destination with Jet2.
“We arrived at 4am and then there was about 1,400 people all standing still,” said Mr Hester, 83.
“There was no one at the Monarch check- in desk. Then a lady came out with a microphone and told us that Civil Aviation had announced that Monarch was bust and all flights were cancelled.
“It was a bit chaotic and a lot of confusion. We were told it only affected package holidays at first, but it’s everyone.”
The couple, from Leicester, were directed to the Jet2 desk where they managed to get on a flight at 1.30pm.
But even as Mr Hester was paying for the flight, the cost was going up by the minute as thousands of customers tried to book alternatives.
They now hope they will manage to get a refund from Monarch.
“We were lucky. There were some people who couldn’t get flights at all,” said Mrs Hester, 70. “Others were being sent to East Midlands.”
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.
Martin and Ginny Hester