Tourists stranded as Monarch nosedives
UK’ s biggest peacetime repatriation as firm goes bust
Travel firm Monarch has gone into administration, cancelling the flights and holidays of 860,000 people.
Some 110,000 customers overseas are being flown home in what the government is calling the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation.
A further three-quarters of a million people held future bookings with the travel firm.
Monarch’s board called in administrators KPMG in the early hours of Monday morning.
Administrator Blair Nimmo said the company, which employs around 2,100 people across its airline and tour group, had struggled with mounting costs and competitive market conditions that saw it suffer sustained losses.
Passengers already abroad are being flown home at no extra cost.
Many are in popular holiday resorts in Spain and Portugal such as the Costa del Sol, the Algarve and the Canary Islands.
The government has warned passengers to expect disruption and delays as it works to ensure there are enough flights to return the “huge number” of passengers.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.
“That is why I have immediately ordered the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to fly about 110,000 passengers who could otherwise have been left stranded abroad. This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation.”
Those who have not yet departed will receive a full refund if their booking was protected by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
If it was not, they may be able to seek compensation through their travel insurance or credit card company.
Many passengers turned up at airports yesterday morning ready to go on holiday only to find their flights were cancelled.
Monarch was still advertising flights on its website on Sunday, meaning some passengers may have booked trips even after the company’s bosses de- cided it would stop trading. Administrators are now considering breaking up the company as no buyer has been found to purchase Monarch in its entirety.
Monarch, whose headquarters are at London Luton Airport, was founded in 1967.
In a letter to staff, Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield said the “root cause” of the airline’s plunging revenues was terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the “decimation” of the tourist trade in Turkey.
Airline passengers are having a hard time right now. First Ryanair cancels thousands of flights and now Monarch has collapsed leaving more than 100,000 travellers stranded abroad.
Monarch seems to have been caught between strategies, unsure whether to remain battling it out in the short-haul market or to put their money into low-cost long haul. In the lightning-fast aviation industry they took too long to decide.
The problem for all airlines is that, without scale, it is hard to compete on both long and short-haul flights – and the constant need to drive down fares puts extra pressure on airlines affected by the weak pound and rising fuel prices.
Those who suffer, as always, are those who have lost their jobs and passengers who bought tickets in good faith that their airline was safe and strong.
Greater regulation of fares is not always compatible with a low-cost environment but ministers need to keep a close eye on the industry if they want to avoid having to mount more rescue missions for holidaymakers in the future.