Tourists flying to and from Leeds Bradford Airport are among those caught up in the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation operation after the collapse of Monarch Airlines left 110,000 Monarch Airlines customers abroad needing to be rescued by the Government.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it has been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers back to the UK after the airline failed to renew a crucial licence and went into administration.

READ MORE: Monarch Airlines collapse - what should you do now?

Some 300,000 future bookings have been cancelled as a result of the company’s failure, the largest to hit a UK airline, and customers have been told to keep away from airports as there will be no more flights.

Leeds Bradford Airport was one of Monarch's biggest bases of operations, but all flights have been cancelled with immediate effect. Passengers for today's flights to Dalaman Mugla, Naples and Barcelona have been warned to stay at home, while flights later in the week were to have included Tenerife, Faro, Alicante and Malaga.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.

“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.

“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task.

Ilkley Gazette:

An operation to return 110,000 Monarch Airlines customers is under way after the airline collapsed into administration (Dave Thompson/PA)

“The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”

Customers affected by the company’s collapse have been urged to check a dedicated website for advice and information on flights back to the UK.

It also gives information to those passengers that have future bookings with Monarch but are yet to leave the UK.

The CAA said all Monarch customers who are abroad and due to return to the UK in the next two weeks will be flown home.

The flights will be at no extra cost to passengers and they do not need to cut short their stay, the regulator said.

The Government has warned passengers to expect disruption and delay as it works to ensure there are enough flights to return the “huge number” of passengers.

Commenting on the “extraordinary operation”, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad – and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.

Ilkley Gazette:

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“That is why I have immediately ordered the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to fly about 110,000 passengers who could otherwise have been left stranded abroad.

“This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation. Together with the Civil Aviation Authority, we will work around the clock to ensure Monarch passengers get the support they need.

“Nobody should underestimate the size of the challenge, so I ask passengers to be patient and act on the advice given by the CAA.”

A man set to fly from Leeds Bradford Airport to Cyprus with Monarch now faces the possibility of not being able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Barry Gill, from Hartlepool, was due to fly out on Wednesday for the wedding of his daughter, Gemma Brown, but he and his wife Deborah could now miss the ceremony on Friday altogether unless they can find new flights, which could cost as much as £800.

Mr Gill's stepdaughter, Joanne Richardson, said: We found out early this morning that Monarch had gone bust and we've spent all the time since then trying to sort out new flights.

"We (she and her stepsister) are already out in Cyprus but Mum and Dad, with working during the week, had been planning to come Wednesday through to Saturday.

"We checked the website in the morning and it said all the flights were
cancelled. It's left people in the lurch.

"I'm not sure whether they're going to be able to get out as it's a lot
of money to find in the space of a day."

The whole family now face a worrying wait to see if alternative
arrangements can be made.

Ms Richardson added: "It was the news nobody wanted.

"My stepsister has got all the wedding preparations to deal with, so
we're trying to get it sorted.

"We just don't know whether he's going to be there to give her away."

A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said: "We are working closely with the Government and CAA officials to help support Monarch customers during this very stressful time.

"We would urge people affected to keep up-to-date on the CAA’s dedicated website,, or talk direct to their travel agent.”

The CAA has chartered four flights to replace Monarch services due to arrive at Leeds Bradford today. Holiday-makers coming from Naples are set to land at 2.25pm as scheduled, followed by passengers coming from Dalaman in Turkey at 3.50pm.

A replacement flight from Barcelona will touchdown at 10.10pm, followed by the final Monarch flight of the day to Leeds Bradford from Menorca at 11.05pm.