More than 100,000 customers are stuck abroad after Monarch Airlines announced they have gone into administration.
All future UK flights have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, accountants KPMG said.
The airline is advising customers who have flights booked with them not to go to the airport as no planes will be leaving the ground, and now the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation operation is underway to return the thousands of Monarch customers back home.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircrafts to bring the passengers back to the UK after the airline’s board called in administrators in the early hours of this morning (Monday October 2).
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.
"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."
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.
What to do if you are a Monarch customer
Monarch passengers abroad
What should I do now?
The Government has told Monarch customers to continue their holidays as planned and is organising special flights back for passengers who are affected at no cost to them. At least 48 hours before you are due to return home you should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk, call the helpline on 0300 303 2800 if calling from the UK or +44 1753 330330 if calling from overseas to confirm your new flight details. Repatriation flights are for all passengers who purchased tickets with Monarch irrespective of their nationality.
When will I be able to fly?
You should expect to be flown as close as possible to your planned departure dates, no earlier, and prepare for disruption to journeys. Some passengers may need to speak with their accommodation provider in case they need to extend their stay.
When should I go to the airport?
You should arrive at the airport more than three hours before your confirmed new flight as they will not be able to take earlier services. Foreign Office staff will be available at affected airports to help any vulnerable British citizens with specific needs. Any Britons requiring additional consular support should visit gov.uk/world.
Can I check in online?
There will be no online check-in. You will be issued with a new flight and new boarding card and will not be able to check in with your old flight details.
Will I have to pay for the flight?
Once on board the plane, you will be asked to provide details of your original Monarch booking. If you are not Atol (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) protected, this will allow the Government to claim the cost of their replacement flight directly from your credit or debit card company. You will not be asked to pay for your flight yourself.
Do I have to pay for extra accommodation costs?
Passengers with Atol protection are entitled to reasonable accommodation and subsistence costs if they are delayed by more than four hours. Those without Atol protection may be able to claim from credit card providers or insurers. Further information will be made available via the website. The CAA will process your refund as quickly as possible - check the dedicated website for more information.
How do I know if I am Atol protected?
Check if you have received an Atol certificate, or check with your travel agent.
Will I be flown back to my departure airport?
You may be flown back to different UK airports, with coaches available to take you to your destination airport.
Monarch customers yet to travel
Check the dedicated website or contact your travel agent if you booked with one. They will be able to advise on whether you can change your holiday booking or are entitled to a refund or compensation. If you are not covered by the Atol scheme, you should also contact your credit card company or travel insurer.
Have you been affected by Monarch going into administration? Let us know