Monarch Airlines: rumours of imminent demise not exaggerated. Bankrupt, AOC suspended. Pax airlift

Premium Analysis

Monarch, one of the UK's oldest operating airline brands, now has the unfortunate distinction of being its largest ever UK airline administration.

Government chartered aircraft will repatriate 110,000 passengers, future bookings have been cancelled and 1,858 employees have been made redundant. Nevertheless, Europe's third airline bankruptcy this summer will not have a material impact on industry structure.

As recently as 30-Sep-2017, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said that it was still renewing Monarch's ATOL licence, confirming that protection would remain available for eligible bookings made on 1-Oct-2017. Unlike last year, when there were fears that Monarch's finances would prevent its ATOL renewal, the CAA had not started to position charter aircraft at Monarch destinations for the possible repatriation of its passengers. Moreover, Monarch had been seeking potential alternative owners, but its inability to secure a buyer quickly sealed its fate.

Monarch had been burning cash and flying on close to empty for years. A CAPA analysis report of 15-Sep-2017 had suggested that a cash injection of GBP168 million from its 90% shareholder Greybull Capital between Oct-2016 and Mar-2017 might see it through, for now.

However, Monarch was always likely to keep coming back for more, and it seems that Greybull's pockets are now not in play.

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