110K Monarch travelers stranded after largest-ever collapse of British airline

Oct. 2 (UPI) — After nearly a half-century in business, Britain’s Monarch Airlines has filed for bankruptcy and halted operations — leaving more than 100,000 travelers stranded.

The shutdown of Monarch, which served more than 40 destinations from its British bases, is expected to leave 300,000 passengers without flights over the holidays and beyond.

The company entered administration on Monday and its operating license was suspended. Its engineering operation, Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited, is not in administration and continues to trade normally.

Industry analysts say it’s the largest airline collapse in British history. The carrier had been in business for 49 years.

“Mounting cost pressures and increasingly competitive market conditions in the European short-haul market have contributed to the Monarch Group experiencing a sustained period of trading losses,” the airline’s accountants KPMG said in a statement.

Monarch was on track to lose $80 million this year and even greater amounts next year.

The British government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to coordinate flights for stranded passengers for no additional charge.

“Our primary focus for the next 48 hours is to work with the Civil Aviation Authority to provide the infrastructure and information needed to help the Government and CAA with the safe repatriation of approximately all the 110,000 customers who are currently overseas,” a KPMG company accountant said.

Monarch is headquartered in Luton, Britain, and had a capacity of 6 million seats a year.

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