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UK’s Huge Peacetime Repatriation: 10K Passengers Return After Monarch Collapses

A Monarch A321 at the gate. Monarch collapsed this week leading to over 10,000 stranded passenger on holiday. Photo by MKY661 - Own work, GFDL,

More than 10,000 passengers that had traveled abroad are being repatriated back to the UK after the recent Monarch Air collapse. Most of them will be brought back by the end of this week. According to the Business Reporter, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has already repatriated almost 35,000 people on 173 flights. The remaining 75,392 passengers are expected to return by October 15. The British government and CAA are working over time as, in total, about 860,000 people have been affected. CAA Chair Dame Deirdre Hutton says this massive undertaking has gone well for the first three days but points out that there are still 11 days remaining before the monumental repatriation is complete. Most all Monarch passengers are expected to be back in the UK by October 15.

With all the canceled flights, news of the collapse is devastating for many people who were planning holiday travel on the budget airline. Holiday flights on other carriers are likely to overbook and experience additional problems related to overcrowding. Travelers are not the only ones affected, however. According to administrators at KPMG, about 1,858 of the 2,100 employed at Monarch’s tour and airline group are now in redundant positions and will be laid off. It is expected that 98 tour and 1,760 airline employees will lose their jobs.

No buyer yet.

Meantime, the airline continues to search for a buyer but no buyer has come forward yet. So, Monarch’s top executives are considering breaking up the company. Monarch Aircraft Engineering, the engineering operation, is not part of administration and is trading normally. Breaking the company into bits and pieces may be a bit traumatic for veterans of the company (Monarch Airlines was originally founded in 1967) but executives are quick to point out that a breakup could be one of the only ways to salvage parts of the company.

Passengers wait for a flight. Photo by: Tom Murphy VII (Wikipedia)

To add insult to injury, the workers’ union is filing suit. Unite union has initiated legal action on behalf of more than 1,800 cabin, crew and engineering employees that were laid off. This could add millions of dollars to taxpayers’ already heavy financial burden. Taxpayers are required to bankroll the current repatriation efforts, since the airline is essentially bankrupt.

It is the largest airline bankruptcy in the United Kingdom to date. Monarch stopped trading October 2, after urgent talks with aviation regulators. The CAA refused to renew the airline’s license to sell holiday packages shortly before the 4 a.m. announcement.

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Kim Clark

Written by Kim Clark

Former CNN Radio News Network anchor Kim Clark is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in the aviation industry and financial markets. She currently freelances for S&P Global and works as a club and event Disc Jockey in Atlanta, Georgia, after having held positions doing news on radio morning shows and holding down the position of Music Director of commercial radio stations owned by Cumulus and Clear Channel.

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