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Published on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Travel industry outraged at £250 per head bill for Monarch rescue flights

The government is asking tour operators and travel agents who booked passengers on Monarch flights to stump up £250 per head to bring their clients back home following the company's collapse at the weekend.

So far, the government has repatriated more than 23,000 of the 110,000 passengers on a series of flights, having leased aircraft from Qatar Airways as part of the rescue mission, which is expected to cost around £60 million.

As only a small percentage of the 110,000 passengers stranded abroad at the time of Monarch's collapse were covered by the company's ATOL licence, the government has said it expects credit card companies, tour operators and travel agents to share the cost.

Passengers are being handed forms prior to boarding, asking them to state the company they booked with in order for the government to bill the relevant travel agent or tour operator.

However, some tour operators say the cost of £250 per passenger is over the top, given that it is possible to buy flights from popular European airports to the UK for around £100.

"It's just outrageous for the government to have stepped in like this and expect us to pay," one industry source told TravelMole. "We have to pay for ATOL protection and now we have to pay again to protect those who weren't covered by the ATOL."

Another source said "We don't understand why the government rushed to bring in Qatar Airways aircraft when there is a huge amount of aircraft capacity in the UK which could have been used instead to bring passengers home.  Charging £250 for a single flight seems totally unrealistic."

AITO said: "The government understandably rushed at the problem, but if they'd talked to ABTA and talked to AITO, they might have come up with a better solution in collaboration with the industry, which is well used to dealing with this sort of crisis."

AITO also pointed out that it will cost the government a considerable sum to process all of the passenger forms, assuming passengers fill them in.  "This doesn't appear on the face of it to have been well thought through, which is disappointing from an industry perspective," added a spokesperson.

AITO chairman Derek Moore added: "Given that it was the government itself that chose not to extend ATOL cover to flight only passengers, despite the travel indusry asking it to do so, the government should pay."


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  • ATOL spending consternation

    Is it actually legal for public funds to be spent on repatriation when ATOL was excluded, and then expect the industry to stump up? In a previous ATOL consultation some years ago, I canvassed for passengers not covered by ATOL to be explicitly advised of the fact. They're then in a position to accept the risk, or mitigate by credit card purchase and/or insurance. Current policy makes ATOL redundnant in public's minds.

    By mike carrivick, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

  • The fall of the Monarch!

    Those that purchased flights protected by ATOL should be re-imbursed or flights paid for by the CAA. Passengers who booked flights on their own accord, afraid it is their problem, that's why we have ABTA and ATOL protection, lessons learned for some, avoiding a travel agent to try to save a penny is dangerous.

    By Peter Mackness, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

  • Confetti?

    The government appear to be treating money like confetti. (Brexit divorce demands?) The liability surely lies with insurers, ABTA, ATOL, etc, etc. I am surprised the insurers' own insurers are seemingly involved?

    By Joe Curry, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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