MALDON residents have had their bucket list trip to Venice ruined after their chosen airline went into administration.

Claire Cole, who lives in the Poets Estate in Maldon, was due to travel to Venice for a long weekend away with her partner Andy Thacker and two friends in two weeks’ time.

However, the group’s plans now lie in ruins after Monarch Airlines, who they were due to fly with, entered administration and cancelled all future flights.

The airline is the fifth largest in the UK, and reported a £291 million loss last year, blaming a rise in terror attacks as the reason for its revenue loss.

The news has been devastating for Claire’s group, as despite being insured the trip had been on her friend’s bucket list for many years.

She said: “It’s a very nasty business really.

“My partner and I have been to Venice before, but this trip was going to be the first time for my friend.

“It’s all the more devastating as she was recently made redundant, but this trip had given her something to look forward to, but now it’s completely ruined.

“We did have a look at potentially flying with another airline, but at the moment they’re rubbing their hands with glee and have jacked up all the prices.

“It would cost us at least another £1,000 to rebook our flights, so it’s out of the question.”

Claire and her friends join more than 800,000 Monarch customers affected by the issue.

She and her friends hope they will be able to reschedule their long-awaited trip away.

She added: “I work as a childminder and my partner a bus driver, so it’s not a case of simply rearranging it for another week, it needs to be a school holiday.

“It’s an awful situation, but at least we’re not one of the ones already out on their holiday.”

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, 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 urge people affected by the company’s collapse to check our dedicated website

“It gives information to those passengers that have future bookings with Monarch but are yet to leave the UK.”