Monarch airlines announced in the early hours of this morning (October 2) that it has ceased all flights and entered administration. With up to 110,000 passengers still abroad, the airline says the Civil Aviation Authority is making arrangements to assist those customers.
A notice on Monarch’s website says the situation is “unprecedented” and alternative flights will be at no extra cost to passengers who are already abroad. For customers who have yet to depart from the UK, all future flights have been cancelled and only those who booked tickets prior to December 14 2016 are entitled to a refund through the CAA, but can make a claim with their card insurer or other payment protection.
According to the BBC, the airline shut down a 4am – a time when there were no Monarch flights in the air – and then sent a text message to all its customers saying their flight had been cancelled. The BBC estimates that the 300,000 axed flights could affect up to 750,000 people.
The airline had been in last-minute talks with the CAA about renewing its license to sell packaged holidays but had failed to reach an agreement by its deadline of midnight on Sunday.
The CAA says its plan to secure more than 30 aircraft to fly to more than 30 airports to bring home affected customers is “the equivalent of operating, at very short notice, one of the UK’s largest airlines.”
Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said: “This is the biggest airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK.
“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.”
The CAA has set up a dedicated website – monarch.caa.co.uk – where passengers can get the latest information about their replacement flight as soon as it becomes available.