MONARCH Airlines has ceased trading and all its future flights to and from Gibraltar as well as around the world have been cancelled, affecting hundreds of thousands of customers.

Monarch employs about 2,100 people and reported a loss of £291m last year compared with a profit of £27m for the previous 12 months.

Terror attacks in northern Africa, increased low-cost competition, and a pound have been blamed for its demise.

Trevor Hammond, GSD spokesman for tourism said: “Our immediate concern is for those residents of the Rock who may be stranded in the UK.

“Government advice issued today says they will offer no assistance whatsoever to stranded residents abroad and that they should re-book flights and claim on insurance if they have any.

“The loss of Monarch is a serious blow to our tourism sector.

“The demise of Monarch is not entirely unexpected and this will be a test of Government’s planning and marketing strategy in the tourism sector.”

Monarch is the UK’s fifth biggest airliner and the country’s largest ever to collapse.

Affected customers should check for updates.