Monarch is adamant there’s nothing wrong and that it’s Air Travel Operators Licence will be renewed on Sunday. It allows it to operate packaged holidays, but these represent only 5% of the airlines business.
This would be better if it had been renewed in the course of normal business on a Friday. The fact it’s gone to a Sunday and that traditional hide bound civil servants are having to work with the airline and its financiers over the weekend, to continue its ATOL, just as they did last year, is not a sign of a healthy airline.
While package holidays represent only a small amount of Monarchs business it’s the loss of confidence in the brand and name that worries investors – people don’t book if trouble looks imminent and airlines need constant cash flow to survive.
The vultures are circling. eayJet, Norwegian and Wizz are all said to be looking at Monarchs portfolio and could offer to support the airline with ready cash – the sort of cash the CAA has said it needs to issue an AOC to let it continue to operate. Quite where owners Greybull Capital are on this it’s hard to tell. They probably want out, but they won’t want to see their investment fail. Last year they bailed out the airline with £165m, having bought it for almost as much the year before.
It’s understood that contingency plans have been made to bring home stranded passengers if the ATOL is refused and Monarch stops flying in full as a result.
Meanwhile the UK press is making up the story as they go along, trying to look like they’re not sensationalising it, but making it worse all the same by undermining everyones confidence.