Another departure from our normal blog this time, but an important one. While Ryanair are hacking off their soon-to-be-former clientele by cancelling yet more flights over the winter, Monarch Airlines, which is Britain’s fifth-largest carrier, is teetering on the edge having been handed a last minute 24 hour reprieve by the Civil Aviation Authority. (CAA). It’d be a real shame if they did go, not only for the 2,400 people who work for them, but because out of all the similar airlines, their seats, even with a 28″ pitch, are actually vaguely half decent following a recent redesign.
Along with over 1,000 other holiday companies, Monarch’s ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) expired on the 30th September. The airline, which has been in financial trouble twice before, has to demonstrate that it’s finances are in good order to renew their licence. The problem is that they apparently aren’t! Losing ATOL protection would be a serious blow to Monarch as customers would think very carefully before booking a trip on a non-member airline. (The ATOL scheme is there to protect travellers on package holidays when their travel company goes bust, and is run by the CAA.)
The CAA has given Monarch a day to get their affairs in order and to prove that it is capable of meetings its obligations. They have said:
…”We can confirm that ATOL protection will remain available for eligible holiday bookings made with Monarch on Sunday.
The CAA will provide a daily update with regard to the protection that is available to Monarch’s customers.”
This protection only applies to Package Holidays (those where flights and accommodation are supplied together) In this situation a refund is offered should the firm go bust before the start of the trip, and gets you home if you’re stuck abroad. It’s important though to remember that those with flight only deals might be on their own if Monarch fails.
“As previously stated, we continue to work on plans to determine our optimal future shape, size and strategy.
“Our flights are operating as normal, carrying Monarch customers as scheduled.”
Last year, when Greybull Capital stepped in at the last minute to provide funding their CEO Andrew Swaffield said:
“My goal is to get the business in a really strong shape financially to make sure it’s never in the position again it’s found itself in this year.”
Let’s hope for all concerned that Monarch can find the funding to keep flying.
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