The UK aviation regulator is gearing up for a “huge” number of claims from Monarch’s Atol protected customers following the collapse of the airline.
The Civil Aviation Authority estimates receiving 32,000 claims from people with future bookings and has instructed a number of professional handling agencies to manage the volume in an effort to ensure refunds are issued speedily.
The authority pledged that all Monarch Atol protected travellers or their travel agents will receive claim forms by email by Wednesday. Forms will then start to be processed by “dozens” of staff.
The CAA expects most legitimate claims to be processed within 28 days of receipt. If additional information is required this may take a little longer, but the CAA said it was committed to processing the claims as quickly as possible.
All refunds to Monarch’s Atol protected customers will be paid by the Air Travel Trust from the Atol fund that exists to protect customers in the event of a travel company failure.
Other Atol protected customers, who booked with a tour operator or travel agent, other than directly with Monarch, are being advised to speak to their Atol holder directly and they may be able to get a refund or be offered an alternative flight or holiday.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We recognise there are many thousands of Monarch customers who will be bitterly disappointed that their holidays have been cancelled.
“Those who bought a package holiday from Monarch are Atol protected, which means they have full financial protection and are entitled to a full refund of the cost of their holiday.
“By streamlining our processes and using experienced handlers, we aim to ensure claims are managed effectively and customers receive their refunds as quickly as possible.”
More than 60% of the 110,000 Monarch customers who were abroad when the company collapsed in the early hours of last Monday are already back in the UK, on more than 350 special rescue flights.
Haines said: “Our flying programme is continuing and we are pleased that the clear majority of people, well above 95%, are arriving in the UK within a few hours of their original Monarch flight time.
“As we move into week two, the flying programme will present new challenges as we combine passengers from a number of smaller flights onto one larger plane.
“This will undoubtedly lead to some people needing to arrive at the airport earlier than planned. Our advice to passengers is to look at the website – monarch.caa.co.uk – at least 24 hours before your original flight time to confirm what time you will need to get to the airport.”
A total of 54 flights were completed on the sixth day of the CAA’s repatriation operation on Saturday, returning 11,155 people to the UK.
About 40,000 passengers are still to to be returned to the UK over the next eight days.
The CAA said it was working around the clock, in conjunction with government, to deliver the replacement flying programme following the administration of Monarch Airlines.
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