Travellers stranded as Monarch Airlines suspends flights

A Monarch Airlines plane on the apron at the Cologne/Bonn airport in Cologne, Germany, on Nov 27, 2013. (EPA/EFE file photo)

LONDON: Troubled British carrier Monarch Airlines has suspended flights after failing to resolve its financial woes, and authorities have launched a major operation to bring home 110,000 stranded travellers.

The airline, the country’s fifth largest, stopped trading on Monday, warning travellers it had ceased operations. It had operated chartered and scheduled flights across Europe.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority tweeted that it was arranging to have 30 aircraft bring home the stranded passengers scattered from Turkey to Sweden back home, “at no cost to them”.

“Some disruption is inevitable in these extraordinary circumstances,” the CAA said in another tweet. “Please bear with us as we do our very best to help.”

The CAA also said that a first repatriation flight carrying 165 passengers who were stuck on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza has landed at London’s Gatwick Airport.

Monarch’s is the largest failure of a British airline. Efforts to reach an agreement with regulators on staying in business failed as of a midnight deadline.

The airline said companies affected by its failure include Monarch Airlines Ltd, Monarch Holidays Ltd, First Aviation Ltd, Avro Ltd and Somewhere2stay Ltd.

It said that as of Monday, “all future holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating”.

Greybull Capital LLP, which owned The Monarch Group, issued a statement saying it was “deeply saddened” by the airline’s failure. It said it was working with regulators to minimise disruptions.

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