Monarch Airlines has ceased trading and all of its future bookings have been cancelled, the Civil Aviation Authority has said.
Around 110,000 customers are currently overseas and the government has asked the CAA to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring them back to the UK.
Monarch is the UK’s fifth biggest airline and the country’s largest ever to go into administration.
Customers due to fly from the UK have been told not to go to the airport.
Monarch had been in last-ditch talks with the CAA about renewing its licence to sell package holidays.
It had until midnight on Sunday to reach a deal with the aviation authority but failed to do so.
Advice to Monarch customers, issued by CAA
- Customers in the UK yet to travel: don’t go to the airport
- Customers abroad: everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short your stay
- All affected customers should check monarch.caa.co.uk for more information
- The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330330 from overseas
The airline carried 6.3 million passengers last year to 40 destinations from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester airports.
Monarch, founded in 1968, employs about 2,500 people and is made up of a scheduled airline, tour operator and an engineering division.
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.
“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.
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.