British Airways parent targets Monarch assets as airline ceases operations

International Airlines Group reportedly interested in acquiring Monarch's take-off and landing slots, fleet and crew.

Monarch Airlines ceases tradingWochit

British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) is interested in acquiring some of Monarch's take-off and landing slots, fleet and crew, reports say, after the UK's fifth-biggest airline ceased operations.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on 2 October that Monarch would halt trading with immediate effect after talks over temporarily extending the airline's Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL) collapsed.

Some 300,000 future bookings have been cancelled as a result, with around 110,000 Monarch customers stranded overseas.

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The government has launched its biggest ever peacetime repatriation operation to fly the stranded passengers back to the UK at no cost to them.

Sky News reported that IAG's emergence as a suitor for Monarch assets could save some of the 2,800 jobs at the airline.

KPMG have been appointed as administrators to Monarch Airlines and Monarch Travel Group.

Industry sources told the broadcaster that hundreds of jobs would be lost as a result of the company's demise.

Thomas Cook and other package holiday providers have also reportedly been approached by Monarch's advisers in an effort to drum up interest in its assets.

A separate report in the Daily Mirror said Ryanair was interested in acquiring pilots from Monarch to ease the pressure on its own workforce.

The government has asked the CAA to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring back the tens of thousands of Monarch customers stranded abroad to the UK.

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Passengers due to fly back to the UK over the next two weeks do not need to cut short their stay and will be repatriated at no cost, the CAA said.

Monarch customers in the UK are advised not to go to the airport.

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

"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.

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"This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation. Together with the CAA, we will work around the clock to ensure Monarch passengers get the support they need."

Sources told Sky News that the CAA was struggling to charter aircraft for the repatriation effort as the US government had commandeered many of the available planes to evacuate people from the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean islands.

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