UK

Thousands Of Monarch Passengers Still Stranded Abroad As Repatriation Programme Ends

'I just feel like we have been abandoned here.'

16/10/2017 16:09 BST
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Thousands of Monarch passengers are still stranded abroad two weeks after the company went bust 

Thousands of Monarch passengers are still stranded abroad two weeks after the UK’s fifth biggest airline went into administration, with the final repatriation flight having now touched down in the UK. 

Almost 85,000 travellers have been flown home by the by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the past 14 days in what was heralded as the UK’s “biggest ever peacetime repatriation”, estimated to cost around £60 million. 

But with the rescue programme now closed, administrators KPMG approximate that 4,000 Monarch customers still remain overseas. 

While ATOL-protected customers will still have their flights rebooked for them by the CAA, the aviation authority estimates that only 1,000 of these customers are still abroad. 

That means around 3,000 travellers could be left to foot the bill for their journeys back to the UK. 

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As many as 3,000 Monarch passengers could have to pay for new flights back to the UK 

Carolyn, a 58-year-old landlord from near Blackpool, has been forced to fork out more than £800 for flights back to Malaga for her and her partner. 

The couple, who were holidaying at their apartment in Marbella, were due to travel home on a Monarch flight on October 23 after flying out to Spain in September, before the airline went bust. 

Carolyn - whose flights were not ATOL-protected - said she was “shocked” and “angry” that she and other customers have not been offered help to get back to the UK. 

“When we first heard it was in administration we just presumed we would be repatriated with everyone else,” she said. 

“I feel very angry that a cut of point of October 15 was given and just because we were booked a week after that date we get no help at all.” 

While her credit card company has temporarily refunded the £117 she spent on Monarch flights home, she has been left almost £700 out-of-pocket after having to book Thomson flights at late notice. 

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Only around 1,000 ATOL-protected customers remain abroad, say the CAA 

“It’s been very stressful,” Carolyn continued. “The problem is that it’s half term next week so the few flights that were initially available were pricey but then they went crazy as availability became almost zero.

“I just felt like we have been abandoned here.” 

To make matters worse, the couple have missed out on a visit from their family, who were set to fly to Spain tomorrow with Jet 2, but return on the same Monarch flight as Carolyn and her partner. 

“They haven’t booked more flights because of the cost of them,” she explained. 

“I’m so upset that my family couldn’t come out. We have a new little grandson as well as a two-year-old granddaughter and we had so many things planned and were looking forward to having them here.

“It is such a pity they couldn’t all come for a holiday and will now have to wait till next spring.” 

Other Monarch passengers took to Twitter to share their outrage at being stranded abroad: 

Twitter
Passengers took to Twitter to share their anger at the situation
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Around 3,000 Monarch passengers are expected to have to pay their own way home 

But the CAA say that tens of thousands of passengers have been brought back to the UK on ‘rescue’ flights. 

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We’ve operated almost 570 dedicated flights to return passengers to the UK, with 98 per cent of passengers arriving home on the day of their original departure.”

He continued: “While the main repatriation programme has now ended, the CAA is proactively contacting all 1,000 ATOL protected passengers still abroad in order to arrange alternative flights to get them home when their trip has ended.” 

Around 300,000 flights were cancelled and almost 2,000 people lost their jobs when Monarch went bust on October 2.