A UK airline that announced its relaunch after six years has reportedly ran out of money and will no longer be returning.
Monarch Airlines once carried as many as 6.3 million passengers to 40 destinations every year, including flights from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports. The firm collapsed in October 2017, bringing a curtain down on one of the country’s oldest airlines, which launched in 1967.
Earlier this month a new website appeared for Monarch along with a social media page declaring its return. Today the company announced that the process would either be stopped completely or slowed down significantly.
“It is with immense regret that we announce today that we have been forced to put the brakes on our process to relaunch Monarch,” a statement on its website reads.
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“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, however since taking over the business two weeks ago we have drawn close to exhausted the start-up funding provided to us far more rapidly than anticipated.
“We have been seeking alternative routes, such as partial divestment of share capital, and will continue to do so, however at the current stage there is no practical option to move forward in the immediate future.”
The airline’s existence came to an end back in 2017 quite dramatically, with more than 110,000 passengers stranded abroad. What followed was the biggest peacetime repatriation programme at the time, costing £60million, although this was overtaken in terms of scale by the Thomas Cook collapse in 2019. Six years on, the airline looks to be working on plans to relaunch flights and holiday packages from the UK.
A new social media account for the airline tweeted earlier this month: “We’re working hard building a brand new Monarch, just for you.” Another tweet said: “Monarch Airlines Limited and Monarch Holidays Limited were yesterday passed into new ownership following the exit of the companies’ founder and previous majority shareholder. More information will be forthcoming.”
A spokesperson for the firm today told the Mirror: “Discussions will still be taking place in the background regarding the potential to continue with the launch however for the foreseeable future this will not be made public. All relevant information otherwise should be available on our web site.”
The airline launched a new website – letsmonarch.co.uk – along with Instagram and Twitter accounts. The new chair of Monarch, Daniel Ellingham, earlier told trade magazine Airways he would ‘launch a new and strong company for the UK tourism sector’, adding: “There is an opportunity for newcomers such as ourselves to step up and meet demand.”
No details about when the airline could relaunch or which airports Monarch would be looking to run flights from were published. The Civil Aviation Authority told the Mirror that no application to it had been made for permission to fly commercially in the UK. Such an application would take at least 18 months to be considered, they claimed.
The airline cited a number of reasons for its collapse in 2017, including a fall in the value of the pound, increased fuel costs and terror fears affecting tourism in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. As well as popular summer holiday hotspots like Alicante and Rhodes, the airline also ran seasonal flights to Venice and Paphos.