British scheduled and charter carrier Monarch collapsed today, stranding 110,000 passengers abroad. The airline is the fifth largest carrier in the UK and commenced operating in 1968.

Any passengers who bought their flights as part of a package holiday are ATOL protected. This is a compulsory UK scheme for sellers of air holidays and flights to protect consumers in the event of an insolvency, such as in this case.

What Happened?

The airline almost collapsed in 2014 and was acquired by Greybull Capital who injected £125 million at that time. A reduction in fleet and a turnaround plan took place, resulting in the cessation of long haul flying.

Political events in Egypt and Turkey – two major markets for the airline – resulted in a marked drop in travel demand to those areas. Aircraft were redeployed on European routes but strong competition in this market depressed prices and led ultimately to the demise of the carrier.

How Are People Getting Home?

Anyone with a flight in the next two weeks will be flown back at no additional cost. The ATOL scheme will pay for the flights back and these will be on the same day and around the same time as the original Monarch flights.

The contract for the flights was awarded to Titan Airways who are using their own aircraft as well as chartering some British Airways aircraft. BA in turn has sub contracted to Qatar Airways just like they did during the cabin crew strikes.

British Airways advise that up to 20 flights per day will be operated by Qatar Airways with BA flight numbers, as close to the original Monarch schedule as possible. Air Transat are also providing some lift to assist.

Aer Lingus Swoops

Monarch operates a fleet of Airbus A320 and Airbus A321 aircraft which is similar to many airlines throughout Europe. Aer Lingus were quick to capitalise on the event in a tweet earlier today, stating –

“#Monarch pilots: Let’s talk! Hourly open information sessions for Airbus type-rated pilots. Radisson Manchester Airport, Tue 3 Oct, 9am – 3pm.”

Aer Lingus is expanding so I assume some of their existing A320 pilots will move to long haul flying. As a result more short haul pilots will be required.

Easyjet has also indicated it has numerous vacancies for pilots, cabin crew and other supporting staff. It appears the employees of Monarch will have some options, which is good to see.

Overall Thoughts

It is always a shame when an airline company ceases operations due to financial issues. It is the nature of any business though and sometimes it is not possible to weather external factors.

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Featured image by Alan Wilson via Wikimedia commons.
With thanks to BBC News and FlyerTalk users ahmetdouas and alextheengineer.