Thousands of stranded Monarch passengers brought home

More than 10,000 holidaymakers left stuck overseas when Monarch Airlines collapsed are due to arrive back in the UK today on rescue flights coordinated by the British Government.

The sudden failure of the company on Monday left more than 100,000 people without a flight home - and created the biggest repatriation challenge ever faced by the British authorities in peacetime.

A total of 34,608 people have already arrived back in the UK on flights arranged by the Government and aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

A further 10,793 are expected to return on Thursday, while the remaining 75,392 Monarch Airlines customers are due to be back by October 15.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the CAA, said the operation remains on course but they are facing a "huge undertaking" to collect up all of those caught out by the failure of the travel firm.

The CAA has also been in contact with more than 2,200 hotels and accommodation providers to ensure that Atol-protected customers can continue their holidays, she added.

Empty Monarch Airlines check-in desks after the airline went bust. Credit: PA

Around 300,000 people who had made bookings with the firm for future holidays have seen their travel cancelled - though most will be able to get their money back.

Administrators are now considering breaking up the company, which was founded in 1967, as no buyer has been found to purchase Monarch in its entirety.

On Wednesday it was revealed Unite the union would begin legal action on behalf of more than 1,800 Monarch airline workers who lost their jobs.

Administrators KPMG said 98 of those made redundant were employed by Monarch Travel Group, while 1,760 worked for Monarch Airlines.

The group's engineering operation, Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited, is not in administration and continues to trade normally.