In early October, the British low-cost and charter airline, Monarch suddenly went bust. The news broke in the early hours of the morning as the airline’s management sent text messages to staff and passengers telling them that administrators had been called in. The airline was grounded immediately, leaving passengers stranded and holiday plans in tatters.
Unlike other failed airlines like airberlin and Alitalia, specialist bankruptcy administrators, KPMG were tasked immediately with selling off Monarch’s assets. Their job has been to clear the airline’s debts, pay staff outstanding wages and then see how the remaining cash can be distributed.
But while the airline’s owners at the time, Greybull Capital, are rumoured to possibly even make a profit out of Monarch’s collapse, the passengers who had to be rescued by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority are still waiting to see any form of compensation.
Now, Skycop, a flight compensation website is urging the administrators to do more for the thousands of Monarch passengers who have been caught up in the fiasco. It comes as experts estimate that around €68 million was raised by the sale of Monarch’s valuable takeoff slots at London’s Gatwick airport.
KPMG managed to strike the deal with International Airlines Group, the owner’s of British Airways and Iberia, despite high profile opposite from the International Air Transport Association. A British court, however, ruled in favour of KPMG, allowing the sale of the slots even though Monarch wasn’t actively using them.
Experts say KMPG made a healthy profit from the sale of the takeoff slots after a bidding war opened up between IAG and easyJet, Wizz Air and Norwegian who were also interested in expanding their presence at Gatwick.
At the time, Blair Nimmo, one of KPMG’s administrator’s said it was a “positive” deal for Monarch’s customers. Unfortunately, it looks like passengers are still waiting to see any benefit in spite of KPMG’s assurances.
Unlike other flight delays or cancellations, the 860,000 Monarch passengers who were impacted aren’t technically entitled to compensation under the EU 261 denied boarding regulations, because the airline went bust.
“According to our estimates, if the EU law applied in this case, the passengers would be receiving over €291 million to make up for all of the stress, panic and moral struggle these travellers have been through,” explained Marius Stonkus, Skycop’s chief executive.
“Hundreds of thousands of passengers have seemingly been pushed aside after they were rescued from abroad by the UK authorities.”
Skycop has been pushing both KMPG and the CAA to announce a compensation package for passengers although neither party has commented on what might be offered.
On a more positive note, the 2,000 Monarch staffers who so cruelly found out they were being made redundant by text message are at least getting the money owed to them without fuss.