British airline Monarch has today quadrupled the cost of its flights to limit the the fall out just hours before it could collapse.
The company has been teetering on the brink of going bust and was handed a 24-hour extension to its licence to sell package holidays.
A fleet of 10 jets has been chartered to rescue up to 100,000 British holidaymakers who could end up stranded if it collapses.
And it seems it is preparing the possibly of losing its licence by hiking up the cost of its flights – essentially pricing themselves out of the market to discourage people from buying them.
Thousands of anxious Brits are currently on holiday and are desperately awaiting news whether they will able to fly home with airline.
Lynda Green, from Stanmore, London, visited her friend Laraine Haik in Kalkan, Turkey, and is due to fly back to the UK tomorrow.
A fleet of 10 jets has been chartered to rescue up to 100,000 British holidaymakers who could end up stranded if it collapses
Worried customers were seen talking to a member of Monarch’s staff at Gatwick Airport on Sunday
Monarch Airlines check-in desks were almost empty at Gatwick Airport on Sunday afternoon
There was an empty desk at Monarch Airlines in Gatwick today and some customers think they could be stranded overseas
But she is extremely worried and stressed as to whether she will be able to board a Monarch plane so she can see her son and five-month-old granddaughter.
Ms Green, 65, told MailOnline: ‘My main concern is about getting home. We should be flying tomorrow at 9.55pm and we’ve had no contact with Monarch yet.
‘I have a flight to Dublin on Friday and I might have to buy an easyJet to Stansted and not Luton, where we need to be.’
She is yet to hear from the airline and is eagerly awaiting news from the CAA and hopes they will make ‘alternative arrangements’ for stranded holidaymakers.
Ms Green added: ‘We don’t know anything at the moment and we are waiting for the CAA to make a decision.
‘We are two hours ahead so need to wait until 6pm tonight. Hopefully will start to make alternative arrangements if need be. There must be some contingency plans in place.
‘My friend has a new granddaughter that she hasn’t met yet so is very anxious to get home yo meet her for first time.
‘We are both extremely anxious and just want to know whether we can fly home with Monarch. It’s awful when you have no control over the situation.
‘It’s sad really because I’ve used Monarch a lot of times before. Next time, I would look to make sure my insurance covers going under in future.’
The Independent carried out a number of test bookings on Saturday evening and found some flights were as cheap as £32 each way.
However, it found that on Sunday morning, the company’s flights had risen by £100.
Monarch’s future remains up in the air and Britain’s fifth biggest airline is in desperate talks with regulators about renewing their Atol licence which allows it to sell holidays.
Lynda Green (pictured) has been in Turkey for the last five weeks but is worried about getting home with Monarch
Ms Green (right) has been staying with her friend Laraine Haik in Turkey (left) and they both need to get back to the UK
Stricken airline Monarch was handed a 24-hour reprieve last night as it teetered on the brink of financial collapse
The low cost airline previously had a deadline of midnight on September 30 before its licence expired but this was extended and will run out at midnight tonight.
The airline’s CEO, Andrew Swaffield, sent an internal email to staff – seen by MailOnline – which urged employees to ‘re-assure our customers’.
He wrote: ‘You may have seen press reports and social media speculation about us this morning, about our ATOL licence and imminent future.
‘And passengers may be asking as well. If you’re a pilot or crew, or in another customer-facing role, please re-assure our customers, if asked, that our flights are operating as normal, carrying Monarch customers as scheduled.
‘Our ATOL licence – which is for packaged holidays only – is with the CAA. Flight only bookings do not require an ATOL licence, in line with other airlines.
‘I know this is unsettling and we will try to end this uncertainty as soon as we can. Thank you for your continued professionalism – I know it hard in the circumstances, but I appreciate it very much.’
QA: Monarch on the brink
Why is it in trouble?
Terrorism cost Monarch business in key markets such as Turkey and Egypt. The weak pound has increased the cost of fuel and aircraft leases.
How are its finances?
Profits of £27million in 2015 were wiped out by a £219million loss in 2016. It was forced to turn to private financiers for a £165million rescue, the fourth cash injection in as many years.
How would loss of Atol affect Monarch?
The Air Travel Operator’s Licence affects only 5 per cent of it business – package holidays. But Atol removal would trigger such a loss of faith from customers that the firm would risk going into administration.
If Monarch goes bust what happens to customers abroad?
If they are on a package holiday, they are Atol-protected and will be flown home for free. If they are on flight-only bookings, they may not be covered but the Civil Aviation Authority is organising some rescue flights.
… and bookings for future holidays?
Package holiday customers will get their money back – but with no guarantee of being able to rebook the same holiday with another firm.
What about Monarch flight-only bookings?
Flights alone are not covered by the Atol scheme. Insurance is unlikely to cover airline failure either. If the flights cost over £100 and were booked with a credit card, they are covered under the Consumer Credit Act – meaning a refund.
Government officials held a meeting to discuss how they would help some of the six million passengers Monarch flies each year.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) appears to now have a plan in place to deal with the aftermath which could leave people stranded.
It has leased 10 A320 aircraft from Qatar Airways if the British firm’s planes are unable to fly and its customers are left overseas, reports The Sunday Times.
A Whitehall source told the paper that the CAA has to ‘beg, borrow and steal’ in order to assemble to emergency fleet so quickly.
It is believed two of the 10 planes touched down at Stansted Airport, Essex, earlier in the week while the other eight are in Doha, Qatar.
Disgruntled passengers have also taken to Twitter to voice their anger and concerns.
Justin Scott, 46, is on holiday with his mother Kathleen Peck, 66, who needs to return to the UK urgently so she can undergo cancer treatment in Cornwall on Wednesday.
Government sources said preparations have already begun for a ‘mass repatriation’ of passengers should the worst happen
A woman is in Almeria and asked Monarch whether she needs to make ‘alternative plans’ to get home
One holidaymaker was concerned about flying back to London tomorrow and is still unsure about whether he can get home
They are still in Turkey and are due to fly back to Gatwick tomorrow.
He was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying: ‘I’m worried as I have to work on Tuesday and Mum needs to get back to Cornwall on Tuesday.
‘I’ve checked for alternative flights but we don’t want to go to the additional expense unless forced to.’
Monarch, whose headquarters are at London Luton Airport, was founded in 1968.
It also operates from four other UK bases including London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds Bradford to more than 40 destinations around Europe and further afield.
It is Monarch’s second such temporary extension in two years and follows a spotlight being shone on the carrier’s finances.
A CAA statement said: ‘The Atol renewal process is ongoing and the CAA will conclude the processing of applications from approximately 1,300 Atol holders in the next 24 hours.
‘In certain circumstances this could require a temporary extension to complete this process.
Another Monarch customer voiced her concerns on Twitter and asked for help as she was unsure whether her flights would get cancelled
Another customer, Kevin Machin, asked the firm if he needs to ‘start worrying’ about his flights next month
‘In line with our usual practice, we will not comment on the specifics of any Atol holder’s application until such time as the process has reached a resolution.
‘However, we can confirm that Atol protection will remain available for eligible holiday bookings made with Monarch on Sunday.
‘The CAA will provide a daily update with regard to the protection that is available to Monarch’s customers.’
The company employs approximately 2,750 predominantly UK based staff, its website states.
UK travel firms selling holidays and flights are required to hold an Atol, which protects customers with pre-booked holidays from being stranded abroad in the event of circumstances such as the company ceasing to trade.
It is thought Monarch bosses held talks with other airlines such as easyJet and Hungarian firm Wizz over a potential rescue deal.
The CAA said yesterday that it will make a decision about a new licence for Monarch at 4pm today.
It said: ‘We can confirm that Atol protection will remain available for eligible holiday bookings made with Monarch on Sunday.’
Last year, Monarch was forced to turn to Greybull for a £165million rescue package to keep flying.
And last month Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield hit back after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said in an interview: ‘It is an open secret that Monarch and Norwegian will not make it through the winter.’