Monarch Airlines is operating as normal on Monday following a bizarre sequence of events over the weekend all centered on speculation that the company was on the brink of collapse. A number of wide-body aircraft positioned across Europe on Saturday and Sunday in an apparent staging for recovery flights should Monarch’s operations fold. But, for now, that “shadow” operation remains grounded.
The company issued a statement Monday morning:
Over the weekend, there has been negative speculation about Monarch’s financial health.
Monarch is trading well and is expected to achieve an EBITDA of over £40m at the end of this financial year (October 2016). This is despite a difficult period for the holiday industry due to terrorist incidents, Brexit and the resulting devaluation of sterling.
Our flights and holidays are operating as normal, carrying Monarch customers as scheduled.
To weather tougher market conditions and to fund its ongoing growth, Monarch expects to announce a significant investment from its stakeholders in the coming days.
Separately, the BBC reported that Monarch held discussions with Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority on Sunday night. Monarch’s operating license is up for renewal at the end of the week and part of that process is proving financial solvency such that the carrier would remain covered by the Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme. The CAA would be responsible for operating any recovery flights under ATOL. Airlines and travel agencies participating in the scheme finance the operation with a bond to cover recovery operations should an airline fail. Most of Monarch’s UK-originating traffic is protected by the scheme. It is unclear if the “shadow” fleet was positioned by Monarch, the CAA or is simply a massive coincidence. Other reports overnight had Monarch planes parking at remote stands rather than at gates and maintenance workers “tipped off” to issues and told to retrieve their tools from the hangars just in case the buildings were closed off.
As for the “shadow” fleet, it is mostly idle today in Europe. The United 747 in Mallorca filed plans to fly to the Canary Islands later this afternoon but that flight was later canceled. And Monarch is not dead yet.
Header image: Monarch Airlines A320 G-ZBAB by Andy Mitchell CC-SA
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