Passengers due to fly with Monarch were left in tears at check-in desks after the airline announced it has gone bust this morning.

All flights travelling from UK have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, accountants KPMG said.

Manchester Airport has said holidaymakers travelling with Monarch should not go to the airport today.

Hundreds of passengers arrived at Manchester Airport this morning before the announcement was made and were turned away by Monarch staff at check in counters.

The Civil Aviation Authority said all Monarch customers who are abroad and due to return to the UK in the next two weeks will be flown home.

All flights from the UK - some 300,000 future bookings - have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, accountants KPMG said.

The Civil Aviation Authority said it has been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers back to the UK - the biggest peacetime repatriation operation.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: "We know that Monarch's decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.

"This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.

"We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK's largest airlines to manage this task.

"The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home."

We'll bring you more reaction to the closure of Monarch Airlines, from Manchester and across the country, as we get it...

From Luton beginnings to UK high-flyer

Monarch was founded 50 years ago and grew into one of the biggest operators in the UK. It was formed at Luton Airport in June 1967 with the financial backing of the Swiss Mantegazza family, the owner of tour operator Cosmos, and started commercial operations in 1968.

It survived the emergence of low-cost upstarts like Ryanair and easyJet and in 2016 carried 5.4 million people on 35,619 flights, according to Civil Aviation Authority figures.

According to administrator KPMG, Monarch Airlines and Monarch Travel Group employed around 2,100 people between them. The airline had 34 Airbus A320 aircraft in service, flying from Luton, Gatwick, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester to around 40 destinations. It was the sixth largest UK-based provider of scheduled services, according to the CAA.

Private equity firm Greybull bought Monarch from the Mantegazzas in October 2014, unveiling a rescue package including more than £100 million in investment, pay cuts of up to 30% for staff and hundreds of redundancies.

By 2016, Greybull was forced to inject another £165 million amid bankruptcy rumours and doubts about the future of Monarch’s operating licence.

At the time, chief executive Andrew Swaffield declared: “We are now firmly focused on the future as a stronger Monarch.”

But Greybull called in administrators in the early hours of Monday, citing a highly competitive market, terrorism and the collapse in the value of the pound as factors contributing to Monarch’s demise.

Monarch 'victim of the success of other airlines'

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said Monarch was a “victim of the success” of other airlines as he addressed the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

He said he hoped staff would get jobs “quickly again soon”, adding:

“Let nobody think this is a sign of general problems in our aviation sector. Monarch has been a victim of the success of other airlines, like easyJet and Jet2. This summer most of our airports carried more passengers than ever before and they did so because of the success of our economy.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling
Chris Grayling

'In shock'

Stephen and Lin Dodgson, who were due to fly with Monarch: “We were in shock really, we were concerned and staff were looking very upset.”

'I feel lucky to be on the first replacement flight'

Lesley Moors from Altrincham at Manchester Airport:

“I feel lucky to be on the first replacement flight, it went fine. But we’ve two more Monarch flights booked this year so I don’t know what will happen with those.”

Lesley Moors
Lesley Moors

Department of Transport info

The latest advice from the Department of Transport:

15 'repatriation' flights coming to Manchester

Between today and tomorrow morning there have been 15 ‘repatriation’ flights scheduled into Manchester - with up to 300 passengers on each.

Cancellations hit 3,000 Manchester passengers

More passengers arrive back in Manchester

Monarch passengers arriving back in Manchester from abroad said there were no problems with the return flight.

The flight from Palma, Majorca, arrived on Monday afternoon about 20 minutes after it had been originally scheduled to land.

Ernest Fletcher, 84, from Urmston, said:

“I got to the airport this morning to be told that Monarch flights were cancelled, they had gone bust, but not to worry because we were being repatriated by a company called High Fly.”

He said the flight back had gone “perfectly”. He added: “If the Government stepped in, well done the Government.”

Linda McConnochie, 59, from Heywood, had been on holiday with her husband Neil, 55, and his mother Jean, 85.

She said:

“We were queuing up when someone told us we were in the wrong queue because there were no Monarch flights. We didn’t know what she was talking about. I did panic at first because we’d had no TV when we’d been away and hadn’t read the papers so it came as a complete shock.”

Mr McConnochie said:

“The flight has been absolutely superb but there has been a bit of chaos at passport control here because people have to fill in repatriation forms.”

Claire Broadhead and Sharon Miller, both 44, returned from a four-day stay in Palma.

Ms Broadhead told the Press Association:

“We were on the coach to the airport when someone told us. Until we got to the airport we didn’t know anything. Then we just had to queue up and were told we would be getting on a different flight.”

Ms Miller added:

“I was stressing because just want to be home and at first we didn’t know if we would get a flight.”

'We feel lucky to be home'

Lesley Moors, 49, a mum of three from Altrincham, was on the first flights of Monarch passengers to return, from Palma.

She said: “We woke up to a text with the news. It was worrying but they organised a replacement. There was chaos on arrival when they were trying to get us to fill out the repatriation forms.

“A lot of older people were getting upset because there wasn’t much explanation.

“But we feel lucky to be home. We do have two more flights with Monarch this year which are cancelled, I don’t know what we will do about that.”

'We were quite anxious'

Passengers got 4am texts

Furious Monarch passengers found out their flights had been cancelled when the company TEXTED them saying they had gone bust.

Rickey Lal, 25, was already at Birmingham Airport when he received the text - just two-and-a-half hours before he was due to board his flight to Barcelona.

The project manager, from Walsall, said: “I’d booked a flight to Barcelona with Monarch with my cousins when I found out the news.

“We had a text at 4.09am from Monarch which said: ‘Important! Monarch has stopped operating. All flights have been cancelled. Please do not go to the airport. Please visit monarch.caa.co.uk for more information.’”

“We were at the airport by then anyway so it was just pointless.”

Could easyJet move in to Manchester slots?

Rivals have begun circling the carcass of collapsed airline Monarch in the hope of bagging its landing slots as the firm’s administrator prepares to carve up its assets.

The likes of easyJet, Wizz Air, Norwegian Air Shuttle and British Airways owner IAG are understood to be mulling moves for the carrier’s slots, which span Manchester, Gatwick, Birmingham, Luton and Leeds-Bradford airports, according to people familiar with the matter.

Robin Byde, transport analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said that Monarch’s assets would be attractive to easyJet in particular. “Monarch assets may enable easyJet to increase frequencies on common routes, gain more attractive year-round and seasonal slots, and generally take market share.

“On fleets, synergies could be attractive as Monarch currently operates 34 Airbus A320-family aircraft which are compatible with easyJet’s fleet,” he said.

Manchester Airport had 120 Monarch flights a week

One of Monarch’s largest hubs operated out of Manchester Airport.
The airport said 11 flights out of Manchester and 17 flights in to the airport were withdrawn today.
Typically, the airport had 120 Monarch departures and arrivals a week.
Tricia Williams, chief operating officer of Manchester Airport, said: “All Monarch flights from Manchester Airport have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled after the airline entered administration this morning.
“Passengers booked on any of these services should not to travel to the airport. For passengers coming back to the UK, we will be working with the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority to facilitate the smooth repatriation of passengers whose return flights have been affected.
“We understand this will be a difficult time for customers whose travel plans have been disrupted and we are providing information and assistance to those who have already travelled to the airport for flights that had been due to depart today.”
The Civil Aviation Authority meanwhile has chartered a number of planes to Manchester Airport today to start to bring home passengers who should have flown with Monarch.
The first flight, from Palma in Spain, is due to land at 12.55pm this afternoon, a spokesman said.

'A very sad day for the UK airline industry'

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body for UK airlines, said

“Today is a very sad day for the UK airline industry.

“Monarch has been taking British families away on holiday for almost 50 years and has been a well-loved brand and stalwart of UK aviation.

“Our thoughts are with the several thousand employees who face an uncertain future, and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who are currently abroad or have booked a trip and were looking forward to travelling with Monarch.

“The CAA and Department for Transport are working round the clock and are doing all they can to arrange the professional and speedy repatriation of stranded passengers back to the UK.

“Today’s news goes to show the ferociously competitive and challenging environment airlines currently operate in.

“I sincerely hope what has befallen Monarch gives politicians pause for thought about the challenges and costs facing the airline industry, and that at all times they should be champions of a sector that is a massive UK success story and which provides untold advantages to this country in terms of the jobs and connectivity it enables.”

Around 410,000 customers affected

Around 410,000 customers are affected by Monarch going into administration including 110,000 who are currently abroad and 300,000 with future bookings, the Civil Aviation Authority has said.

250 passengers turned up at Leeds Bradford

A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said around 250 passengers turned up on Monday morning for cancelled flights to Dalaman and Naples.

He said: “People were very, very understanding; there was a lot of disappointment but people were understanding.

“It was disappointing having to tell people who had come for their holiday that it was not going to happen.

“We tried the best we could to facilitate people.”

The spokesman urged passengers not to turn up at the airport for cancelled flights to Barcelona and Menorca, which were due to depart on Monday afternoon. Replacement flights from Naples, Dalaman, Barcelona and Menorca are due to bring Monarch customers back to Leeds Bradford later.

Rival firms accused of 'cashing in'

Flight companies were accused of cashing in on the chaos from the Monarch collapse as flight prices were allegedly increased by the minute as desperate passengers struggled to rebook flights.

An intensive care nurse from south London, who has asked to remain anonymous, rebooked flights to Alicante and saw the quoted price rise from £138 to £199 per person on the Ryanair site in the time it took to complete the booking.

She told the Press Association: “It is scandalous that Monarch were allowed to carry on taking bookings when it is now clear the Government knew they were about to fold.

“I haven’t had a proper pay rise in seven years and was forced to either cancel my holiday or stump up an inflated price to Ryanair.

“I blame the Government for standing by and allowing ordinary working people like myself to be ripped off in this outrageous fashion.”

'There will be no more Monarch flights'

This was the final tweet from the Monarch account...

... and those yet to travel

Monarch customers yet to travel are being told NOT to go to the airport.

Check the dedicated website or contact your travel agent if you booked with one. They will be able to advise on whether you can change your holiday booking or are entitled to a refund or compensation.

If you are not covered by the Atol scheme, you should also contact your credit card company or travel insurer.

The advice to customers already abroad...

The Government has told Monarch customers who are already abroad to continue their holidays as planned and is organising special flights back for passengers who are affected at no cost to them.

At least 48 hours before you are due to return home you should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk, call the helpline on 0300 303 2800 if calling from the UK or +44 1753 330330 if calling from overseas to confirm your new flight details.

Repatriation flights are for all passengers who purchased tickets with Monarch irrespective of their nationality.

It's good news for Ryanair

Shares in easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways’ owner IAG rose in morning trading following the collapse of rival Monarch.

Investors piled into the stocks after interpreting the airline’s demise as a boon for competitors.

EasyJet was up more than 4%, Ryanair rose 3% and IAG shares increased 2%.

A Ryanair jet at Dublin Airport, as the crisis over pilot shortages and warnings that crews are rejecting cash bonuses to commit to the airline will be addressed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 21, 2017. See PA story AIR Ryanair. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Ryanair jet at Dublin Airport, as the crisis over pilot shortages and warnings that crews are rejecting cash bonuses to commit to the airline will be addressed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 21, 2017. See PA story AIR Ryanair. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said: “The failure of Monarch is good news for rivals. It means fewer seats to fill sector-wide - more than six million in the case of Monarch.

“This should mean Ryanair and easyJet can comfortably improve load factors, even if the reputation of the former has suffered of late. “This should be positive for margins despite pricing pressures.”

Ministers accused of 'sitting on their hands'

Ministers have been accused of “sitting on their hands” while airline Monarch went bust as an operation to repatriate 110,000 travellers was launched.

The Luton-based airline, which was about to mark its 50th anniversary, went into administration early on Monday, triggering uncertainty for customers and a huge effort to get people already on holiday back to the UK.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers home, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling it the “biggest peacetime repatriation” effort.

A plane carrying 165 passengers from Ibiza was the first to arrive, landing at Gatwick on Monday morning, hours after the airline’s board called in administrators KPMG.

The collapse - the largest to hit a UK airline - has left some 300,000 future bookings cancelled and customers have been told to keep away from airports as there will be no more flights.

Announcement was 'on the cards'

Aviation consultant John Strickland said that Monarch’s announcement was “on the cards”, although its future looked more positive until news emerged in recent days that its Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) was in doubt.

He said: “It looked like there were discussions about selling slots or part of their network, in a managed way, that would allow business continuity.

“But it hasn’t happened in that clean way. It’s happened before the end of the summer season so it’s going to leave many people stuck.”

Failures of airlines such as Monarch are “pretty rare”, Mr Strickland said.

“We see smaller failures, we see airlines like Alitalia, Air Berlin, in a state of failure but with people looking to buy bits.

“Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often that you get an overnight failure.”

Mr Strickland said Monarch was hampered because “every man and his dog has piled capacity into the western Mediterranean” as it is seen as a safer destination than alternatives such as Turkey.

“There’s been an oversupply of capacity there and that’s forced down ticket prices,” he said. “That hasn’t helped Monarch either.”

'Now trying to book another holiday'

Andy Learoyd wrote: “Got all way to Manchester Airport ready for a great holiday in Lanzarote only to be informed that Monarch went bust at 4am this morning now trying trying to book another holiday.”

'Kids and pensioners crying'

John Connerty, who was travelling to Marbella, also posted on Facebook passengers were crying when the announcement was made by Monarch.
He wrote: “In Manchester Airport ready to fly out with Monarch then an announcement states that Monarch has gone into administration so upsetting to see kids and pensioners crying, along with wife.

“Government should make a law that makes companies who know they are in trouble to stop selling things to people if they know they are going to cease to trade. Fuming but life goes on.”

'Staff looked stunned and shocked'

Stephen Dodgson, 60, from the Wirral, and wife Lin, 50, were turned away from the Monarch check in desk in the early hours of this morning.

The couple travelled to Manchester this morning for a 10 day break in Turkey, but were turned away more than an hour after they started queuing by staff informing customers the airline had gone into administration.

They have since booked a new flight to Dalaman for this afternoon with Thomas Cook costing an extra £600.

Stephen and Lin Dodgson

Stephen said: “What has annoyed me is that it went into administration at 12am, but when we were standing in the queue at 3.15am this morning you could still go on Monarch and book flights.”

He added: “There were families there with upset children, but we also felt sorry for the staff and employees of Monarch who look stunned and shocked, as obviously they are now out of a job.”