Are you the next Monarch Airlines?

This month has seen the dramatic collapse of the UK’s 5th biggest airline, Monarch, leaving over 100,000 passengers stranded abroad and around 800,000 without the flights they have booked for the future. An expensive rescue operation is underway and it is too soon to say what will happen about all those future travel plans.

The news seems to have come as a huge surprise to everyone; the media, government, passengers and staff, but of course there is no way the collapse happened overnight so there will be some interesting stories emerging over the coming weeks and months.

A media article today has suggested the following 4 reasons for the failure of Monarch, and they may have all played some part in the company’s downfall, but all of them apply to the majority of airlines operating around the globe today so why have they had such a dramatic impact in this case?

Fuel prices.

Competition from rivals.

It moved away from long-haul flights.

Terror attacks in Egypt and Turkey.

What else might be part of the story?

Attention to detail: There is an old saying of “what can be measured can be managed” and there would have been plenty of data about the impact of the 4 reasons above.  So what happened to the management of all the parameters? It is not enough to gather the data; it needs to be interrogated, the impact needs to be fully understood, and plans need to be made to counter any negative trends.

Decisiveness: Apparently Monarch were discussing a move back into long haul flights, potentially at the budget end of the market in a move away from the short haul budget arena that was proving so unsuccessful for them. How long has this been up for debate? How bad did the numbers need to be before the move would be made. Sadly, it now appears that delaying a potentially business saving decision has removed the opportunity, permanently!

Fully engaged staff: The most successful businesses, whether globally or locally, have a fully engaged workforce that buy into the company vision and work smarter to deliver that vision. The key to engaging staff is communication and clearly this was not happening at Monarch. Staff have been taken completely by surprise by the news, and many of them received that news by text! How might things have been different if the entire workforce had been pulling in the same direction, towards success and away from disaster.

Treat every penny as your own: A local South West businessman has used that mantra as his own for decades and has gone from market trader to billionaire as a result. It’s like the “look after the pennies” idea that many of us heard growing up. How different might the outcome have been if both the cost and value of every aspect of the business had been scrutinised as if it were coming out of personal funds?

Ultimately, the collapse of Monarch is a leadership issue and those involved must look in the mirror to apportion the blame for what has happened. If you don’t want to be the next business calamity then perhaps you should be thinking of how to engage your team in the success of the business, making sure that you have the right data and are making the right decisions based on it, and that you really understand the cost and value of all aspects of what you do!

We at 28quest specialise in creating winning teams and people who work together stay together. Contact us and get your winning team at

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