Yesterday saw the end to the British Charter airline, Monarch Airlines. The devastating news for both Monarch employees and customers was announced yesterday at 4 a.m. after much speculation on the company’s viability over recent years.
Monarch, who are a Luton based company, opened their doors in 1968 offering flights to over 40 destinations around the world. The airline prided itself on their customer service but struggled to compete alongside the budget airlines. Andrew Swaffield, Monarch’s Chief Executive, attributed the decline of the airline on the terror attacks in Tunisia and Egypt which caused the airline to stop flights to two of their biggest markets.
KPMG have been appointed administrators to manage Monarch’s collapse and the CAA have stepped up managing the return of an estimated 110,000 customers who are stranded abroad, the cost of which is expected to reach around £60 million.
The CAA chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “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. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”
Those hardest hit are Monarch customers who have booked their flights and are yet to travel. Some 750,000 passengers are unsure on how to receive a refund for their booked Monarch flight. People who booked via credit or debit card may be able to claim refunds from the card providers, and people who booked through ATOL-protected agencies will be covered. However, some people did not book via these methods, and some travel insurance does not cover the dissolution of an airline. Furthermore, people who booked flights only direct with Monarch are not ATOL-protected. This issue is being considered by the CAA and further advice is expected to be announced shortly.
The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline for affected people to call: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330330 from overseas.