Reports say that three days before Monarch Airlines folded, text messages announcing a seat sale were sent by the company.
The message that was sent on Friday revealed that the airline was offering super-cheap deals to Portugal and Spain – even though discussion to keep the said carrier on the air were already going to the wire.
The message stated: “Hooray for payday! Find the feeling with 1000s of seats at £30 to Spain and Portugal.”
The airline has collapsed by the early hours of Monday after failing to look for a buyer to carry it forward, leaving around 110,000 customers stranded abroad.
However, it is unknown how many customers availed the £30 seat offer of Monarch in the hours beforehand.
Claer Barrett, the personal finance editor of Financial Times, stated that the problem for the airlines, the customers, and the industry, was that if the Civil Aviation Authority watchdog had given any indication that Monarch was in trouble, then potential flyers would have ignored the deal, sealing the fate of the airline.
“What’s particularly awful in this case is that so many of Monarch’s passengers picked the airline… because it was cheap,” Barret told BBC Radio 5Live.
“You’ve got people who have saved up for their only holiday of several years, for a wedding and their dreams have just been destroyed.”
The repatriation of the CAA of the stranded Monarch customers has started and will continue for the next two weeks.
It is calculated that it will cost around £60m to fly holidaymakers home. On Monday, about 11,843 passengers were accommodated in 61 flights to return to the United Kingdom, and another 11,647 are set to return on Tuesday on 58 flights.
The airline’s chief executive, Andrew Swaffield, informed BBC Radio 4 Today, that on Saturday night, a decision to ground the fleet was taken when they calculated losses for next year would be “well over £100m”.
Around 1,900 jobs at the airline have been lost – including pilots, cabin crew, and staff on the ground.
In his letter to the staff, Swaffield blamed the fallout from terror attacks in the key markets of Tunisia and Egypt in 2015, including the political unrest in Turkey in 2016, for crippling the airline.
He informed the BBC: “The UK insolvency framework doesn’t allow airlines to continue flying unlike in Germany and Italy, where we see that Air Berlin and Alitalia continued when they were in administration.
“We tried to operate a normal schedule all day Sunday so we could be ready for the CAA rescue flights on Monday morning without causing a massive backlog.”
He announced that job fairs would be held to try to make sure that the airline’s staff are able to look for alternative roles with rival companies.
Administrators KPMG stated, in total, 860,000 customers were caught up in the collapse of the fifth largest airline of Britain.
Around 300,000 bookings over the following months with Monarch will have been lost.