Following the news that the Monarch Travel Group has ceased trading, key travel groups and consortium figures from across the industry have been expressing their condolences and issued practical advice both to members and to those consumers who may have been affected. 

ABTA will be trying to help customers navigate through the process of continuing with their holiday arrangements, recovering their money, or rebooking travel arrangements. It will also be providing member companies, who may have customers travelling on Monarch flights or using other services, with up to date guidance and information.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive for the organisation, said: “This will be an anxious and distressing time for Monarch staff, customers and industry colleagues. As the Government undertakes its programme of repatriating passengers who are overseas, ABTA will assist in whatever way we can. Information on our website will help customers and Members to navigate through the process of either making a claim or continuing with holiday plans.”

Currently the CAA is implementing a planned programme for repatriating the 110,000 Monarch customers who are currently overseas, over the next two weeks. Customers who are currently overseas should contact the CAA. The CAA will advise on return flight arrangements and has further advised that for customers not due to return immediately, there is no requirement to cut short their stay.

Customers who have a forward booking with a Monarch Travel Group company and are due to travel can visit abta.com/monarch where there is specific guidance on next steps and how to progress a claim through a card issuer or through another type of financial protection, if required.

AITO has expressed its deep regrets at the loss of the longstanding scheduled airline and is reminding the public of the importance of booking flight-inclusive packages with specialist tour operators so that they can benefit from the best protection if things go wrong.

Derek Moore, the consortium’s chairman, commented: “This will have been due, in all probability, to the ridiculously-priced huge volume of flights available from the so-called ‘no frills’ carriers, which frequently sell flights at less than the cost of the aviation fuel that they consume. Gross over capacity has been created; this excessive number of flights on the market is the cause of Monarch’s demise. It is nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit.

“While Ryanair’s chickens have come home to roost in the past couple of weeks with its huge number of flight cancellations, this has still meant that airlines such as Monarch have been hard-pushed to sell flights at what I’d call ‘real’ prices – prices that actually cover the cost of the service provided and allow a modicum of profit.

“From the consumer perspective, this is a timely reminder – on top of Ryanair’s mass cancellations – that the best way to book a flight is as part of a package with a specialist tour operator. Booking a package gives the consumer extensive rights and privileges, including rebooked flights and accommodation etc. should things go wrong and at the tour operator’s expense rather than yours.”

The Travel Network Group’s CEO, Gary Lewis, also commented: “It's a very sad day for our industry. Monarch has had a long and successful history of operating in the UK Travel Industry for 50 years and we have always enjoyed a strong working relationship with the team there. Our thoughts and best wishes go to our friends and colleagues within the Monarch Group at what must be a very tough time for them. We have tried and tested procedures for handling these situations and have been putting these in place over the weekend to make sure our members have access to all the support and advice they need.

“In all my 22 years in the industry Monarch's failure has to be in the top two in terms of impact on the industry, not only on the trade but also consumer confidence.

“It does again highlight the strength of travel agents and how important the ATOL protection is. We started the TTA model for exactly this reason and this is why it continues to be one of the strongest offerings in the market today. Our membership solutions and systems are designed to offer what Members need in order to give them financial protection in these situations.”

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