Chaos reigns af­ter sud­den col­lapse

Solihull News - - NEWS -

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

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