The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it will bring home more than 100,000 passengers currently abroad after Monarch Airlines became the UK's largest ever airline to enter administration.
The aviation regulator said on Monday morning that the firm had ceased trading with immediate effect following a decision by its board, leaving 110,000 customers overseas and in the region of 300,000 future bookings cancelled.
Grounded: there will be no more Monarch flights
It said the Government had asked it to charter more than 30 aircraft to repatriate Monarch customers currently overseas. The regulator said everyone due to fly in the next fortnight would be brought back to the UK at no cost to them and that there was no need for them to cut short their stay.
All affected customers were told to check decicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for more information.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘We know that Monarch's decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.
‘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. 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.’
Monarch previously operated both scheduled flights and package holidays. It was in talks with the CAA over the weekend about the renewal of its licence to sell package holidays.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the collapse of the firm was the result of a recent price war between airlines. He told the BBC: ‘This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad - and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.’