Thousands of holidaymakers have seen their flights cancelled after one of the UK's biggest airlines plunged into administration - with increased concerns over terrorism added to its demise, a former Burton airline boss says.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced in the early hours of Monday, October 2, that Monarch Airlines had ceased trading and its 300,000 future booking for flights and holidays have been cancelled.

Former managing director of bmibaby, Dave Bryon, from Branston, said he was not surprised that Monarch had gone into administration, saying it was struggling after becoming a low cost airline.

The CAA has been asked by the Government to arrange for more than 30 aircraft to bring around 110,000 stranded holidaymakers back to the UK.

Monarch, which pulled out of flying from East Midlands Airport in 2015, is the UK's fifth biggest airline and the country's largest ever to go into administration.

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Customers who were due to fly from the UK with Monarch have been told not to go to the airport.
Passengers already at airports were unable to check in for pre-booked flights and sent away.

The airline had until midnight on Sunday to reach a deal with the CAA on renewing its licence to sell package holidays.

Mr Bryon said: "I am not surprised for a number of reasons. There were warning signs about four or five years ago. The original owner, who I knew, injected money before they sold it. Then it was taken over by a capital investment company who also put money in to it last year when it was on the brink of closure.

"Twenty years ago it was a very successful charter aircraft but it tried to be a low cost carrier but it is very difficult to deliver that model unless you strip back all the costs and start with a blank legacy. It was the wrong brand in the marketplace, and wrong destination.

"It was profitable with its four or five-hour flights to north Africa or Turkey but the market has dropped considerably over the last five years due terrorist attacks. The bottom has fallen out of Turkey quite a lot. Everyone is looking at Spain and Portugal and there is lots more competition for the two hour flights.

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"When it comes to people who take low fair airlines, because the euro is so strong or the pound is so weak, then with the whole package the costs are quite a lot of money.

"Airlines like Ryanair are pan-European and can absorb all the changes."

On its website, Monarch made the following statement: "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 October 2, 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."

Monarch, whose headquarters are at London Luton Airport, was founded in 1968. It also operated from four other UK bases - London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds Bradford - to more than 40 destinations around Europe and further afield.

Mr Bryon added: "Those who are due to fly with Monarch basically cannot fly or they will have to find another carrier.

"The problem is capacity because everyone is looking at flights and there is a demand which is expensive because the last few seats on a flight are more expensive.

"If you booked as a package you will get your money back as you are covered by ATOL but if you booked your flight only and made your own arrangements for accommodation you should be able to claim the money back if you paid by credit card. If you paid by debit card that is more difficult but I would suggest speaking to your bank.

"For anyone booking flights my advice is pay with credit card and make sure you have adequate travel insurance and that is does cover bankruptcy.

"The market is tough but it is not that tough. It is the biggest UK airline for a number of years but it shouldn’t put people off flying."

Travel Insurance Explained is advising Monarch customers to check their travel insurance policies to see whether they have:

  • 'scheduled airline failure' - which would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), or
  • 'end supplier failure' which would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), and also things like hotels and car hire, which have been paid for and can no longer be used.

Customers have been advised to visit for more information or call the helpline on 0300 303 2800.