The failure of any travel company is regrettable, but it is fair to say that the demise of the Monarch Travel Group earlier this week sent shock waves through the industry. Monarch was a well-regarded company which was held in a great deal of respect and affection both by industry insiders and by holidaymakers, many of whom flew with them on a regular basis. It is very sad to see such a long-established company, which has been at the heart of the travel industry for many years, go into administration with the loss of so many jobs.
The main focus now must be on the hundreds of thousands of customers who have been affected and who are either being repatriated or will be looking for alternative arrangements or refunds, and ABTA has this week been providing information both for Members and for customers about what steps to take. But our thoughts are also with Monarch’s talented and dedicated staff who we wish all the best in finding new positions; I’m sure they will be much sought after.
Many ABTA Members have Monarch customers currently overseas, and we have been facilitating conversations between Members and the CAA to assist the repatriation process and to give Members the opportunity to ask questions or discuss concerns. One of those questions relates to the cost of repatriating non-protected passengers: the vast majority of the 110,000 people whom the government are repatriating, free of charge, were not covered by ATOL protection. While it is reasonable that travel businesses who would have incurred costs in repatriating or refunding their customers should share some of the cost of the repatriation exercise, those costs should not be greater than if the government had not intervened.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive