Monarch Airlines, the fifth-largest airline in the UK, has collapsed, leaving 860,000 people with canceled tickets for upcoming trips and 110,000 people overseas, mid-trip. Those 110,000, who are spread across at least 33 airports in 11 countries, will be returned to the UK via 34 chartered planes sent by the country's Civil Aviation Authority, the BBC reports. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is describing that process, for which travelers won't be charged, the country's "biggest peacetime repatriation" effort. (Instructions for ticketholders, whether they'd already started travel or not, can be found here.) The demise of Monarch makes it the biggest airline ever to go under in the UK. The airline reported a loss of more than $386 million last year.
Higher fuel prices, increased competition, and the weak pound have been named as some of the causes, but the airline's CEO says the "root cause" is terrorism in Egypt and Tunisia (two of the airline's biggest markets) and the collapse of the market in Turkey due to unrest there. The announcement that the airline had gone into administration and all flights had been canceled came at 4am local time Monday, the Guardian reports, and some would-be travelers were informed their flights were canceled just minutes before they were scheduled to take off. It's not clear how many travelers will be refunded for tickets and any other costs they may have incurred, such as hotel stays they now can't use. About 2,100 employees of the airline have also been left without jobs, though other airlines have expressed interest in hiring Monarch employees. (Read more airline industry stories.)