Monday, 2 October 2017
UNITED KINGDOM: Monarch Airlines Has Collapsed, With More Than 100,000 Passengers Stranded
We are sorry to announce that Monarch has suspended flights and holidays.
If you are currently abroad and due to fly back in the next fortnight you will be brought back to the UK at no cost.
Monarch customers in the UK: don’t go to the airport. There will be no more Monarch flights.
Monarch has confirmed that the following companies have ceased trading and now entered administration:
- Monarch Airlines Ltd
- Monarch Holidays Ltd (ATOL Number 2275)
- First Aviation Ltd (ATOL Number 4888) previously trading as Monarch Airlines
- Avro Ltd (ATOL Number 1939)
- Somewhere2stay Ltd
As a result, we are sorry to inform you that, as of 2 October 2017, all future holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating.
This is an unprecedented situation and because there are up to 110,000 passengers abroad, the UK Government has asked the CAA to coordinate flights back to the UK for all Monarch customers currently overseas. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you.
If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your new flight.
If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Monarch Airlines today or in the future, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating.
Customers already abroad
If you are currently abroad and due to return to the UK on or before 15 October 2017 we are making arrangements for you to return home to the UK on a new flight, at the end of your holiday. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you.
We will of course prioritise vulnerable passengers, including unaccompanied minors, and make sure that family groups travel on the same flights.
For further advice and details of your new flight please read I am currently abroad.
If you are currently abroad and due to return to the UK after this date, please read the additional information section.
Customers yet to travel out of the UK
We are sorry to inform you that all future holidays and flights booked with Monarch are now cancelled as of 2 October 2017.
If you are booked on a Monarch Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating.
I have a future booking and have not travelled yet
We are sorry to inform you that as of 2 October 2017 all holidays and flights booked with Monarch Airlines and Monarch Holidays are now cancelled and customers should not go to the airport.
Please follow the advice on claiming a refund for your booking.
Flights booked directly with Monarch Airlines from 15 December 2016 onward
Customers with these bookings are not ATOL protected and are not entitled to make a claim to the CAA. You are advised to contact your card issuer, insurer or PayPal for advice on how to claim a refund.
Flights booked on or before 14 December 2016 directly with First Aviation Ltd trading as Monarch Airlines
If your flight was booked with Monarch Airlines on or before 14 December 2016 and you received an ATOL Certificate stating that your flight is protected with First Aviation, you are ATOL protected. We are making arrangements for refunds to be made as soon as possible to these UK customers.
We will be providing more information on how you should claim shortly. You will be able to submit a claim when we make the Monarch claim form available. Please do not submit a claim until advised to do so.
Bookings made directly with Monarch Airlines from 15 December 2016 onward are not protected by ATOL. For further information please read how do I know if I am ATOL protected.
Holidays booked directly with Monarch Holidays
Customers booked directly with Monarch Holidays are ATOL protected and will have received an ATOL Certificate when they made their booking. We are making arrangements for refunds to be made on these bookings as soon as possible, and we aim to complete this by the end of 2017 at the latest.
We will be providing more information on how you should claim shortly. You will be able to submit a claim when we make the Monarch claim form available. Please do not submit a claim until you are advised to do so.
Monarch flights and Monarch Holidays booked through another travel company or travel agent
If you booked a flight or holiday with another travel company or travel agent you should contact them directly about your arrangements. They will be responsible for arranging a new flight or providing a refund for your booking. Please do not submit a claim to the CAA.
If you are not sure how to identify your travel company or whether you are ATOL protected, please see our advice how do I know if I am ATOL protected.
Monarch Airlines has quadrupled the cost of its flights as it teeters on the brink of collapse - which could be a matter of hours.
Jets are on standby to bring home 100,000 stranded British holidaymakers as troubled Monarch Airlines collapses.
Monarch can sell Atol-protected holidays until midnight tomorrow night.
The British holiday operator has been locked in survival talks to prevent it collapsing and has been handed a desperate 24-hour extension to its license.
A fleet of 10 jets has now been chartered to rescue the passengers who may be stuck if Britain's fifth largest airline goes under.
The beleaguered airline has effectively stopped selling tickets by quadrupling fares in the hyper-competitive cheap flight market.
Test bookings found the price of seats on routes such as Gatwick-Malaga, Birmingham-Barcelona and Manchester-Stokholm had jumped from £32 one-way to £132 overnight.
The company had a deadline of midnight on September 30 extended to midnight tonight before its Air Travel Organiser's Licence (Atol) – allowing it to sell holidays – expires.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: We can confirm that Atol protection will remain available for eligible holiday bookings made with Monarch on Sunday.
This means that holidaymakers can buy Atol-protected trips from Monarch on Sunday, which will cover them from whatever date in the future their trip takes place.
It is Monarch's second such temporary extension in two years and follows a spotlight being shone on the carrier's finances.
A CAA statement said: The Atol renewal process is ongoing and the CAA will conclude the processing of applications from approximately 1,300 Atol holders in the next 24 hours.
In certain circumstances this could require a temporary extension to complete this process.
In line with our usual practice, we will not comment on the specifics of any Atol holder's application until such time as the process has reached a resolution.
However, we can confirm that Atol protection will remain available for eligible holiday bookings made with Monarch on Sunday.
The CAA promised to provide daily updates on the protection available to Monarch customers.
The news came after reports the company was holding emergency talks with regulators to avoid going under.
The airline, whose headquarters are at London Luton Airport, was founded in 1968.
It also operates from four other UK bases including London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds Bradford to more than 40 destinations around Europe and further afield.
The company employs approximately 2,750 predominantly UK based staff.
UK travel firms selling holidays and flights are required to hold an Atol , which protects customers with pre-booked holidays from being stranded abroad in the event of circumstances such as the company ceasing to trade.
Monarch Airlines, also known simply as Monarch, is a British low-cost airline based at Luton Airport, that operates scheduled flights to destinations in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. The airline's headquarters are at Luton, with other bases at Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford, Gatwick and Manchester.
Monarch is one of the oldest UK airlines to have not changed its original name. It has around 3,000 employees.
Monarch Airlines carried over 5.7 million passengers during 2015, a 19% decrease compared with 2014.In 2018 Monarch will receive the first of their 45 new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft. These will eventually replace the current fleet of A320 and A321 aircraft.
The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Type A Operating Licence, permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
Monarch Airlines was formed on 5 June 1967 with financial backing from the Swiss Mantegazza family, as a subsidiary of Globus Getaway Holdings. At the time of Monarch's inception, the Mantegazza family were the owners of UK-based tour operator Cosmos Tours.
Monarch began commercial airline operations on 5 April 1968 with a charter flight from Luton to Madrid using a former Caledonian Airways Bristol 175 Britannia 300 turboprop.The airline's initial fleet comprised two Bristol Britannias both ex-Caledonian Airways.
The airline acquired additional Britannias from the administrators of British Eagle in 1969, its second year of operation. This was the first time the company carried 250,000 passengers within a 12-month period utilising a fleet of six Britannias.
Monarch entered the jet age in 1971 when three Boeing 720Bs joined its fleet. The airline's first commercial jet service took to the air on 13 December 1971. The introduction of the company's first jet aircraft type also coincided with the adoption of a revised livery.
In 1972, the airline carried 500,000 passengers in one year for the first time.
By 1976, Monarch had transitioned to an all-jet fleet following the sale of the airline's last Britannia to Greek cargo charter airline Afrek on 21 May of that year.Two years earlier the airline had retired its last passenger-configured Britannia, which operated the type's final commercial passenger flight in Europe on 9 October 1974.
The changeover to an all-jet fleet was brought about as a result of the acquisition of a further two second-hand Boeing 720Bs as well as the addition of a pair of BAC One-Eleven 500s, which had been sourced from British Caledonian and the administrators of the failed Court Line respectively.
At the end of 1980, Monarch Airlines took delivery of its first new jet aircraft, a pair of Boeing 737-200 Advanced, which had been acquired on an operating lease from Bavaria Leasing at the time a unit of Hapag Lloyd Airlines.
One of the newly delivered 737s was stationed at Tegel Airport in then West Berlin in the days before the German reunification at the beginning of the 1981 summer season.
The Berlin-based aircraft operated short to medium-haul charter flights to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands under contract to Flug-Union Berlin, at the time one of West Berlin's leading package tour operators.
Monarch had taken over Flug-Union Berlin's charter programme from Laker Airways.The addition of the 737s expanded Monarch's fleet to 11 jet aircraft, comprising one Boeing 707-320C, five Boeing 720Bs, three BAC One-Eleven 500s and two Boeing 737-200 Advs.
In 1981, new stations were opened at Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester and Berlin Tegel.This was the first time Monarch Airlines carried a million passengers in a single year.
1981 was also the year Monarch became the first charter airline to order the Boeing 757-200, a high-capacity, medium-haul single-aisle plane powered by Rolls-Royce RB211-535C engines. Monarch's 757 order represented a major step change for a small airline.
Its first 757 was delivered and entered service in the spring of 1983.This coincided with the introduction of an updated livery, the third in the airline's history.
In spring 1985, the CAA awarded Monarch Airlines licences to begin scheduled services to Malaga, Menorca and Tenerife. This enabled the airline to launch its first-ever scheduled service from Luton to Menorca on 5 July 1986, under the brand name Monarch crown service.
In 1986 Monarch's acquired their first Boeing 737-300 aircraft. From November 1988, four of Monarch's 737-300s were leased out to Euroberlin France, a Berlin Tegel-based Franco-German joint venture airline that was 51% owned by Air France and 49% by Lufthansa.
Apart from the aircraft itself, Monarch Airlines also provided the flightdeck crew and maintenance support through sister company Monarch Aircraft Engineering for this airline. By 1990, seven 737-300s were assigned to the Euroberlin wet lease.
On 1 May 1988 Monarch operated the first ETOPs Trans Atlantic operation under CAA regulations. The Boeing 757-200ER G-MONJ operated Luton to Orlando via Gander with 235 passengers the first UK twin jet to ever cross the North Atlantic with passengers. Today it is commonplace on North Atlantic crossings.
1988 was the first time Monarch Airlines carried more than two million passengers in a year.
In 1990, Monarch Airlines introduced the Airbus A300-600R, its first widebodied aircraft type, and opened a new purpose-built headquarters that also housed the airline's own Boeing 757 flight simulator at its Luton base.
During the early 1990s, Monarch Airlines operated several Boeing 767-300ER widebodies on behalf of Alitalia Team, a unit of Italy's flag carrier, under a wet lease arrangement similar to the one Monarch had with Euroberlin France.
In 1993, Monarch Airlines introduced the first Airbus A320 aircraft into its fleet. The first of the larger Airbus A321s joined Monarch's fleet in 1997. Airbus A320 family aircraft eventually replaced the airline's Boeing 737-300s.
In 1998, Monarch Airlines leased two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 widebodied aircraft from World Airways for its long-haul operations whilst awaiting the delivery of a pair of new Airbus A330-200 widebodies.
Following the A330s arrival in 1999,Monarch returned the MD-11s to World Airways.The new A330 widebodies permitted Monarch to serve long-haul charter destinations with a two class seating configuration, another first for the airline.
Monarch's sole McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was retired from service in 2002 and was donated to Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park. In 2002, Monarch also unveiled a brand-new livery – the airline's fourth.
Also, the company re-branded its Monarch Crown Service scheduled division as Monarch Scheduled. Monarch Scheduled continued to offer a full service product, including free catering, bar service, hot towels, newspapers and in-flight entertainment (IFE).
In 2003, Monarch Scheduled announced that it would open a new base at Gatwick Airport. The base opened on 1 May 2003 with services to Alicante, Faro and Malaga.
In 2004, following the success of the low-fares, no frills airlines such as easyJet, Monarch adopted a modified low-cost model featuring additional charges for food and drink.
In 2005, Monarch leased a Boeing 767-300ER from MyTravel Airways now Thomas Cook Airlines to expand its long-haul fleet. The aircraft was returned in 2010.
In November 2005, Monarch opened a base in Malaga.The airline based one Airbus A320 aircraft there. Monarch launched three scheduled services from Malaga, to Aberdeen, Blackpool and Newquay.
The Newquay service was discontinued on 30 April 2006. About a year later, scheduled services from Malaga to Blackpool were also dropped due to low demand. On 27 October 2007, flights to Aberdeen were withdrawn as well.This resulted in closure of Monarch's Malaga base.
On 15 December 2004, Monarch Scheduled announced that it would open a new base at Birmingham Airport. The base opened in April 2005 with new routes to Malaga and Tenerife.
To operate scheduled services from Manchester, an Airbus A321 was acquired. Monarch became the airport's second-largest passenger airline in 2005 with 1.72m passengers using its services from/to the airport.Monarch's total passenger numbers increased from 4.55m in 2002 to 6.5m in 2008.
In August 2006, Monarch ordered six Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner widebodied jets, primarily for use on long-haul routes. Delivery was planned to start in 2010; however, delays to the 787 project pushed back delivery to 2013, and in September 2011, the airline cancelled the order citing its strategic decision to concentrate on short-/medium-haul operations.
On 27 April 2007, Monarch Airlines started flights to Ibiza partnered with club brand HedKandi, naming the partnership FlyKandi. One of Monarch's Boeing 757s (G-MOND) received a special FlyKandi livery with billboard FlyKandi titles and a special tail motif.
The HedKandi partnership lasted for the 2007 summer season, with flights to Ibiza being sold from four major UK airports. It was then renewed for the 2008 summer season, offering the same services.
This time FlyKandi livery was applied to G-MONJ. HedKandi CDs and radio stations were available for purchase and to listen to on board Monarch aircraft.
In 2008, Monarch changed the name of its website from flymonarch.com to monarch.co.uk. It also changed its advertising slogan to The Low Fare Airline That Cares.
In 2008, Monarch provided the aircraft, an Airbus A321, to launch the ITV2 television programme CelebAir. Celebrities were trained and took on duties performed by airline staff, such as cabin crew.
The destinations to which CelebAir flew were mainly Monarch's scheduled destinations, including Malaga, Alicante, Tenerife, Faro, Ibiza, Mahon and Larnaca. These flights carried fare-paying passengers.
The programme first aired on 2 September 2008. The programme has now finished with Lisa Maffia winning the series, Amy Lame finishing second and Chico Slimani finishing third.
After many years of operating profitably, Monarch Group, the parent company of Monarch Airlines and Cosmos Holidays, reported a large pre-tax loss of £32.3m in the financial year ending in 2009.
This necessitated a £45m cash injection from the Mantegazzas who have co-owned the group since its inception.
The Mantegazza's cash injection was accompanied by a change in strategy that saw Monarch Airlines changing its focus from being primarily a charter airline to becoming a predominantly scheduled leisure airline, with a target of 80% of its business being scheduled compared with only 20% in 2005.
The new strategy has already resulted in introduction of additional scheduled services to new destinations in Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Spain and Portugal, including the launch on 23 May 2011 of a three times weekly scheduled service to the Greek island of Corfu — the airline's first scheduled Greek destination – from London Luton.
To increase Monarch's attractiveness as a viable alternative to EasyJet and Ryanair, its main low-cost competitors, all debit card charges were abolished and only a £10 flat rate is applied to credit card transactions.
To highlight these differences as additional selling points, Monarch has introduced the advertising slogan Fly Your Way Every Day. together with a new logo incorporating the airline's old capital "M" and crown. Also, a new livery was introduced.
Although Monarch made a £1.4m profit in 2010, it reported a £45m loss in the financial year ending 31 October 2011 as a result of high jet fuel prices against the backdrop of a stagnant economy and political turmoil in the Middle East. Higher fuel prices increased the airline's annual fuel bill by £50m.
Monarch's revised business plan envisages a small loss in the financial year ending in 2012 and a return to profitability in 2013. In a related announcement made on 31 October 2011, Monarch confirmed the closure of its charter base at Dublin Airport.
On 3 November 2011, Monarch received a £75m rescue package for the airline. It was then announced that Monarch were to launch of 14 additional routes serving new destinations in Italy, Croatia and Greece from their bases. The new flights commenced at the start of the 2012 summer season.
Monarch also received two Airbus A320 aircraft to support the increased level of activity. The addition of these aircraft also marks the first stage of a medium-term plan to increase the fleet size to 40 aircraft in support of the airline's goal to carry 10 million passengers annually by the time the final stage has been fully implemented.
Growing the fleet to enable an increase in passenger numbers will allow the airline to spread its fixed costs over a higher level of output, thus resulting in greater economies of scale.
On 3 May 2012, Monarch announced that they were to open a new base at East Midlands Airport in Autumn 2012, to replace some routes previously flown by Bmibaby, who ceased operations completely on 9 September 2012.
On 8 May 2012 the airline announced operations from Leeds/Bradford with 2 new winter destinations, Munich and Grenoble. They also announced plans for a large expansion in summer 2013.
On 10 July 2012, it was announced that Monarch were to launch a new base at Leeds/Bradford with 12 new destinations.The base opened on 22 March 2013.
Globus Travel's shareholders included Amerald Investments (88%), Atlantic Financial Services (7%) and Abaco Holdings (4%). On 13 December 2012 Monarch announced that they have come on board as a new sponsor for Leeds United AFC, working in partnership with Leeds United to promote Monarch's new base and routes at Leeds Bradford Airport.
On 1 July 2013, Monarch announced an order for a further two Airbus A321s. The aircraft were due to be delivered in April and May 2015, but the order was changed to just 1 A320 which was delivered in April 2015.
On 12 December 2013, Monarch announced that Monarch Airlines had returned to profit in year ending October 2013 and announced that passenger numbers were up 9.5% to 7 million and in line to carry more than 10 million by 2016.
In the same announcement Monarch confirmed that it plans to order 60 new aircraft in an order worth $6 Billion for delivery up to 2024 and would announce the successful tender in Q1 of 2014 from either Airbus/Boeing and Bombardier.
In July 2014 the airline announced that it had selected Boeing, with the 737MAX, as the preferred bidder for 30 new aircraft.The order was confirmed in October 2014, with deliveries due to take place from Q2 of 2018.
On 14 August 2014, Monarch announced the closure of their East Midlands base.
On 24 October 2014 Monarch Holdings was acquired from the Globus Travel Group by private investment company and turnaround specialist Greybull Capital for a nominal sum just hours before Monarch’s licence with the Civil Aviation Authority expired.
Greybull were to own 90% of the airline, with the remaining 10% held by the group’s pension fund and provide access to £125m of new capital.
The strategic review which led to the deal will see Monarch downsize its fleet from 42 to 34 aircraft, renegotiate leases on 10 aircraft and cease long-haul and charter operations from April 2015, converting to a low cost model focusing on short-haul leisure routes.
However, the new finance should secure the order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft signed up to at the 2014 Farnborough Air Show. Following the acquisition, Monarch Airlines ceased long-haul and charter operations by April 2015, converting to a low cost model focusing on short-haul leisure routes.
Following the downsize in operations, Monarch Airlines carried 5.7 million passengers during 2015, a 19% reduction compared with 2014.However demand for flights on Monarch's major holiday routes to Egypt and Turkey continued to fall because of passenger fears raised by the Syrian civil war, the Egyptian political crisis and the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt.
On 25 September 2016, online rumours surfaced about Monarch Airline's imminent bankruptcy, which the airline has strongly denied.In the following days Monarch obtained additional funds from shareholders, and on 30 September 2016 its Civil Aviation Authority ATOL licence was temporarily extended until 12 October.
On 12 October, Monarch Airlines successfully retained its ATOL licence after Greybull Capital provided £165m in investment funding.
As Monarch positions itself as a low-cost carrier, the airline offers several services for an optional extra fee. This includes options such as hold luggage, increased luggage allowance, allocated seating, priority services and in-flight catering.
Monarch's aircraft operate in an all economy layout. A number of extra space seats are located towards the front of the cabin and adjacent to exit doors.
Monarch provides an in-flight magazine named 'Passport!' It's contents includes travel guides, a map of Monarch's destinations, interviews and company news.
Monarch offers food and drink available to purchase onboard all flights. This includes a range of hot and cold food items as well as hot and cold drinks, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
A range of onboard tax-free / duty-free goods are available to purchase from the 'Love to Shop' inflight magazine.
Monarch operates a loyalty scheme named 'Vantage Club'. It rewards regular customers travelling with the airline with additional travel privileges and benefits.
There are three membership tier levels - Indigo, Silver or Gold. The more flights you take the more benefits you receive as you progress through each tier level.
Monarch Airlines is part of the Monarch Group, of which the holding company is Monarch Holdings Ltd., which is 90% owned by Greybull Capital; the remaining 10% is held by the group’s pension fund.
Other subsidiaries of the Monarch Group include Monarch Holidays previously branded as Cosmos Holidays, but that brand reverted to Globus in 2017, Monarch Hotels and Avro Flights.
Monarch operates the following aircrafts:
- 09 Airbus A320-200
- 25 Airbus A321-200
- 01 Boeing 737-800
- FlightOnTime.info Most Improved UK Charter Airline for Punctuality – Summer 2007
- Travel Trade Gazette Airline of the Year – Leisure 2006 and 2007
- TravelWeekly Globe Travel Awards – Best Charter Airline 2009, 2010 and 2011
- World's greenest airline ITB Berlin travel show – The number 1 greenest airline 2011
Accidents and incidents
On 22 May 2002, a Boeing 757-200 (Registration G-MONC) suffered structural damage to the forward fuselage in the area of the nose landing gear during landing at Gibraltar Airport while operating a flight from Luton.
The captain had used an incorrect landing technique, applying full nose-down elevator. This control input resulted in a high pitch-down rate at nosewheel touchdown, in excess of the design limits, before the aircraft's nosewheel had touched the ground. No fatalities occurred.
On 17 March 2006, the flight deck crew of a Boeing 757-200,Registration G-MONE lost visual contact with the runway after passing the Visual Decision Point (VDP) while attempting to land at Gibraltar Airport.
During the subsequent go-around, the crew did not follow the correct missed approach procedures but air traffic control (ATC) provided effective heading control to avoid striking high ground.
The lowest altitude of the aircraft when over land was 2,100 ft. The highest point over land, just south of the airfield, is 1,420 ft. Following the incident, ATC and Monarch Airlines changed their procedures to reduce the chances of repeating a similar occurrence.