MIAMI — The United Kingdom’s fifth largest holiday and budget carrier, Monarch Airlines, has ceased operations completely earlier today, affecting more than 870,000 booked passengers.
According to the airline’s accounting firm, KPMG, “as a result of the insolvency proceedings, Monarch Airlines is no longer able to fly as its Air Operating Certificate has been suspended.”
The collapse comes in after the airline posted a loss of £291 million in 2016. Its CEO, Andrew Swaffield, blamed the terrorist attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as a failing market in Turkey.
Monarch Airlines, established in 1968, had the capacity to offer over 6 million seats every year to the European budget and holiday travelers to over 40 destinations around the globe.
The airline had bases in London’s Luton and Gatwick airports, as well as in Birmingham, Manchester, and Nottingham.
Until 2015, the airline also operated two widebody A330s on long-haul routes. Its fleet of 30 Airbus A320/A321 aircraft operated until today.
The airline was due to receive the first of a 45 Boeing 737 MAX 8 order placed at the Farnborough Air Show in 2014. The order was worth more than $3.2 billion at current list prices.
Today, Monarch joins the list of failed European airlines after Alitalia and Air Berlin filed for administration in 2017. Several analysts blame these failures because of an existing overcapacity and overly-aggressive pricing.
Monarch Airlines canceled all its flights last night, asking its passengers via text messages and social media not to go to the airport as their flights were not going to be operated.
“Passengers due to fly with Monarch from the UK are advised not to travel to their airport unless they have booked alternative arrangements,” KPMG said in the statement.
Monarch customers in the UK: don’t go to the airport. There will be no more Monarch flights. This page will no longer be monitored. pic.twitter.com/hzfQGZ0Ty8
— Monarch (@Monarch) October 2, 2017
“The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be coordinating the repatriation of Monarch customers who are currently overseas and who are scheduled to fly to the UK over the next two weeks at no cost to them,” said the statement released by the airline’s administrator.
According to the CAA, the priority is to repatriate stranded passengers who are far away from their destinations.
— UK CAA (@UK_CAA) October 2, 2017
British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that a “temporary airline” has been put together to bring the 110,000 passengers that were immediately affected by the airline’s collapse.
Monarch declared bankruptcy after “mounting cost pressures and increasingly competitive market conditions in the European short-haul market” occurred, according to KPMG, the airline’s accounting firm.
With Monarch’s collapse, only five large airline groups remain operating in Europe. The Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian, Air Dolomiti, Brussels Airlines, Swiss, Eurowings), IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus), Air France-KLM, EasyJet, and Ryanair.
Ryanair, however, has suffered the cancellation of over 18,000 flights, which will affect over 400,000 passengers as well. The ultra-low-cost airline will ax 34 routes from its point-to-point network and remove 25 Boeing 737s from its fleet starting in November, a decision that will prevent further flight cancellations.