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Monarch flights cancelled as airline goes into administration

PUBLISHED: 07:13 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 02 October 2017

Monarch Airlines has gone into administration. Picture:  Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

Monarch Airlines has gone into administration. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

Archant

Monarch Airlines has gone into administration and has cancelled around 300,000 future bookings.

Around 110,000 customers are currently abroad with the airline and the government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to charter more than 30 flights to bring customers back to the UK.

Customers due to fly with the airline have been told not to go to the airport.

For customers abroad, there will be replacement flights at no extra cost. Go to monarch.caa.co.uk for confirmation of new flight details – these should be available 48 hours before departure.

All customers affected should check monarch.caa.co.uk for more information or call the CAA help-line on 0300 303 2800 from the UK or +44 1753 330330 from overseas.

Monarch is the UK’s fifth largest airline and the country’s biggest to go into administration. It carried more than six million passengers last year to 40 destinations from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester airports.

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.

Commenting on the “extraordinary operation”, 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. Together with the Civil Aviation Authority, we will work around the clock to ensure Monarch passengers get the support they need.

“Nobody should underestimate the size of the challenge, so I ask passengers to be patient and act on the advice given by the CAA.”

Monarch was founded in 1968 and employs around 2,500 people. It is made-up of a scheduled airline, tour operator, and an engineering division.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.

“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.

“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task.

“The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”

Administrator Blair Nimmo told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the administrators were considering breaking up the company as no buyer has been found to purchase Monarch in its entirety.

He said: “While there have been some expressions of interest, in reality no offers for the business as a whole have been forthcoming, so we now are looking for who might be interested in certain parts of business, whether it be physical assets or whether it be slots, i.e. routes that they currently operate.”

On the prospect of job losses, he said that because of the timing of the announcement, staff have not yet been spoken to about their futures.

“We have not spoken to the staff, we have people at all the major sites from KPMG this morning and we are going to... explain to them exactly where we are with them at the moment and where things are going to move going forward, what their rights and statutory rights are in these circumstances. That should become clearer over the next few hours.”

Mr Nimmo explained that Monarch had been “significantly loss-making” over the last year and those losses were projected to continue in the year ahead.

In the last year the airline had taken 14% more customers but revenue was £100m less, while adverse movement of the pound against the dollar had increased costs including fuel, handling charges and lease payments.

He said affected customers currently abroad will “broadly” get home when they were anticipating and “in a similar manner” and urged them to check the website.

Have you been affected by flight cancellations? Contact Marc Betts at Marc.Betts@archant.co.uk or 01603 772326.

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