1967 年創立的君王航空，員工約3000人，主要經營地中海地區、塞浦勒斯、埃及、希臘、瑞典及土耳其等航線，是英國最老牌的航空公司之一。但近年受到突尼西 亞、土耳其、埃及等熱門航線恐怖攻擊頻傳影響，熱門航線長期票價低迷，今年以來，比去年增加14%以上的乘客，收入卻比去年減少1億英鎊。公司營運狀況由 盈轉虧，本來是年賺2700萬英鎊，到了去年10月年度財報，變成虧損2.91億英鎊。
Monarch Airlines collapses, leaving 110,000 passengers without flights
Huge effort to repatriate stranded travelers under way
Monarch aircraft are seen parked after the airline ceased trading, at Manchester airport in Britain, on Monday.
British budget carrier Monarch Airlines has declared bankruptcy and halted operations, leaving up to 110,000 passengers stranded abroad after all flights and vacations were canceled.
What happened: The company entered administration on Monday, in what is being described as the U.K.’s biggest-ever airline collapse, after struggling to keep going amid a price war.
“Mounting cost pressures and increasingly competitive market conditions in the European short-haul market have contributed to the Monarch Group experiencing a sustained period of trading losses,” the carriers’ accountants KMPG said in a statement.
Monarch Airlines, 49 years in the business. pic.twitter.com/qmCuMQUTs1— Lee Cobaj (@Lee_Cobaj) October 2, 2017
But the group’s engineering operation, Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd., is not in administration and will carry on trading normally, they said.
Help for customers: The U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority has launched a program to bring stranded travelers home on new flights. This covers those overseas now and due to fly back before Oct. 15, an estimated 110,000 people.
“This is the biggest U.K. airline ever to cease trading, so the government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the U.K. at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them,” said Andrew Haines, the chief executive of the CAA, according to a report in the Guardian.
“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the U.K.’s largest airlines to manage this task,” he said.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling tells LBC a "temporary airline" has been put together to bring home 110,000 Monarch customers.— LBC Breaking (@lbcbreaking) October 2, 2017
But those yet to take a trip have been told not to go to the airport, as all 300,000 future bookings have been canceled. Those who bought before Dec. 14, 2016 can make a claim for compensation under the ATOL industry financial protection scheme for consumers in the U.K. People who booked after that cannot lodge a claim.
Airlines face headwinds: The battle between Europe’s low-cost carriers for passengers has driven ticket prices lower, pushing some airlines into financial difficulties.
Germany’s second-biggest carrier Air Berlin AB1, -11.28% filed for insolvency in August, and Alitalia’s assets are under the hammer after the Italian flagship went insolvent, too. In September, Ryanair canceled 18,000 flights as it suspended 34 routes until March, blaming a problem with pilots’ vacation scheduling.
Monarch was on track to lose 60 million pounds ($80 million) this year and above £100 million next year, the company’s CEO Andrew Swaffield said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some costs rose due to the slump in sterling after the Brexit vote last year. A search for a buyer for Monarch failed, Swaffield said.
What analysts are saying: “Listed airlines like EasyJet and IAG may pick up the spoils of the extra bookings, but investor confidence in the sector will take another hit so soon after the Ryanair over-bookings debacle,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at LCG.
“The third airline failure this year in Europe, after Alitalia and Air Berlin, is a symptom of overcapacity and overly-aggressive pricing,” said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.
“There are now only really five big carriers operating in Europe: Ryanair RY4C, +3.49% , Lufthansa Group LHA, +3.40% , International Airlines Group IAG, +2.36% ICAGY, +1.20% , Air France-KLM AF, +1.95% , and EasyJet EZJ, +0.77% . Many more mid-sized carriers are limping on thanks to cheap oil, but further consolidation may be necessary,” Wilson added.
By the numbers: Monarch, headquartered in Luton, employed 2,100 in its companies providing flights and packaged vacations. It had a capacity of more than 6 million seats a year and tour operator passenger volumes of more than 200,000 a year, according to the airline.
Established in 1968, Monarch flew out of five airports in the U.K. to more than 40 destinations.
Market response: Shares of rival low-cost carrier EasyJet rose 4.8% in London after the Monarch announcement, while IAG SA IAG, +2.36% climbed 1.9%. Other travel and leisure stocks were higher, partly on the prospect they may buy some of Monarch’s assets at a discount. Travel operator Thomas Cook PLC TCG, +1.16% was up 1.9%, for instance.