Troubled UK airline Monarch (ZB/MON) is once again holding last-minute talks to stave off collapse and the loss of their ATOL bonding.
One year on from the near collapse of the airline, it is once again seeking urgent financial assistance in order to retain the ATOL certificate that was extended for 12 months by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Talks are underway between investors and the CAA in order to get the certificate renewed but once again, preparations are being made by the CAA to repatriate Monarch customers if the requirements for ATOL aren’t met. Several aircraft are already in place to carry out rescue flights including aircraft positioned at London Stansted.
An Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad if the airline or holiday company goes bust. Travel firms selling air holiday packages must have a certificate to you to prove that protection is in place. Unusually Monarch’s ATOL certificate also covers its flights.
Monarch owners, Greybull Captial invested £165m last year to stave off collapse and it remains to be seen as to whether they will be willing to reinvest a similar amount but it has emerged both Norwegian and Easyjet have been considering bids for the airline along with Hungarian low-cost carrier, Wizz Air.
Accountants KPMG has been hired by Greybull to assess the viability of the airline.
The CAA has granted a temporary extension to the ATOL certificate for 24 hours whilst options are assessed by Monarch. Further extensions are unlikely without a clear plan in place.
Monarch includes the airline and its internal tour operator which, without an ATOL certificate will be unable to sell holidays. It is one of the oldest travel groups in the UK having been founded in 1967.
It has struggled in recent times as it faced stiff competition from low-cost carriers such as Easyjet, Norwegian and Jet2.
Norwegian is reportedly interested in Monarch as it has delivery slots in place for new 737 MAX aircraft, a type which Norwegian also operate. Monarch’s current Airbus fleet would also fit into to Easyjet.