More than 110,000 passengers are stranded around Europe and the Middle East after a British airline ceased operations suddenly. Monarch Airlines declared bankruptcy on Monday, immediately halting flights and canceling service. The collapse came with little warning: Monarch employees showed up to work only to be informed that their airline was no longer in operation.
Monarch and its holidays business went into administration, with KPMG appointed to oversee the financial chaos that has left nearly 2,000 employees having to find new employment.
The airline had been struggling financially for a while and won a cash injection a year ago that allowed it to continue flying and fund growth plans, as the sector faced turbulence from Brexit and terrorism. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority described the events on Monday as “the biggest ever UK airline failure.”
“All future holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating,” it said.
Many passengers turned up at airports on Monday morning, ready to go on holiday, only to find that their flights had been cancelled. Some couples even had their wedding plans thrown into chaos as they struggled to find alternative flights for them and their guests.Monarch Airlines
Monarch ceased operations after failing to reach a deal with regulators to extend the company’s license to sell package holidays to overseas destinations. Monarch Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield said the airline’s troubles stemmed from recent terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia and the “decimation” of the tourist trade in Turkey.
Monarch at one point carried more than seven million passengers each year to a handful of holiday destinations from the United Kingdom on 35 narrow-body aircraft. With operations ending, civil regulators have now mobilized 34 aircraft to pick up passengers in what The Guardian calls the "UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation" while an additional 750,000 future bookings on the carrier have been canceled.