Nearly 2,000 employees have been made redundant as a result of the collapse of travel firm Monarch, which also saw thousands of flights and holidays cancelled.

The company went into administration in the early hours of Monday morning.

Administrators KPMG said 1,858 of around 2,100 people employed across Monarch’s airline and tour group had now been made redundant.

Loading article content

Ninety-eight of these were employed by Monarch Travel Group, while 1,760 were employees of Monarch Airlines.

The remaining employees will help with the administration process, and assist the Civil Aviation Authority in bringing holidaymakers abroad back to the UK.

Some 110,000 customers overseas are being flown home in what the Government is calling the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation.

A further three quarters of a million people held future bookings with the travel firm.

Administrator Blair Nimmo said it had prioritised contacting staff to let them know how they would be affected by the administration.

He said: “Regrettably, with the business no longer able to fly, a significant number of redundancies were made.

“Over the coming days, my team will be doing all it can to assist the employees in submitting claims to the Redundancy Payments Office for monies owed.”

Mr Nimmo said Monarch had struggled with mounting costs and competitive market conditions that saw it suffer a period of sustained losses.

Top 10 UK-based airline operators in 2016, by total passengers carried (PA graphic)

Many passengers are in popular holiday resorts in Spain and Portugal such as the Costa del Sol, the Algarve and the Canary Islands and are being flown home at no extra cost.

The Government has warned passengers to expect disruption and delays as it works to ensure there are enough flights to return the “huge number” of passengers.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.

“That is why I have immediately ordered the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to fly about 110,000 passengers who could otherwise have been left stranded abroad.

“This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation.”

Those who have not yet departed will receive a full refund if their booking was protected by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.

If it was not, they may be able to seek compensation through their travel insurance or credit card company.

Many passengers turned up at airports on Monday morning ready to go on holiday only to find their flights were cancelled.

Some couples have had their wedding plans thrown into chaos as they struggle to find flights with other airlines for them and their guests.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said the regulator was notified by Monarch four and a half weeks ago that “there were issues they were dealing with”.

He went on: “Unfortunately we didn’t get final confirmation until 4am this morning and my understanding is that the board resolution to go into administration didn’t take place until close to midnight on Saturday night.”

Monarch was still advertising flights on its website on Sunday, meaning some passengers may have booked trips even after the company’s bosses decided it would stop trading.

Repatriation flights will match Monarch’s original schedule “as close as possible” although there will be some changes, Mr Haines said.

Notices at Gatwick AirportNotices at Gatwick Airport (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Administrators are now considering breaking up the company as no buyer has been found to purchase Monarch in its entirety.

Monarch, whose headquarters are at London Luton Airport, was founded in 1967.

The number of customers carried by the airline rose 14% in the last year but revenue was down £100 million, while adverse movement of the pound against the dollar had increased costs including fuel, handling charges and lease payments.

In a letter to staff, Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield said the “root cause” of the airline’s plunging revenues was terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the “decimation” of the tourist trade in Turkey.

The group’s engineering operation, Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited, is not in administration and continues to trade normally.