1. ITV Report

Government 'allowed Monarch to go into adminstration' union says

Credit: PA

Ministers have been accused of "sitting on their hands" while airline Monarch went bust as an operation to repatriate 110,000 travellers was launched.

The Luton-based airline, which was about to mark its 50th anniversary, went into administration early today (Monday 2 October) triggering uncertainty for customers and a huge effort to get people already on holiday back to the UK.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers home, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling it the "biggest peacetime repatriation" effort.

Credit: PA

In a letter to staff, Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield said the "root cause" of the airline's plunging revenues was terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the "decimation" of the tourist trade in Turkey.

But the Unite union, which represents around 1,800 engineers and cabin crew working for Monarch, claimed that ministers rebuffed requests by Monarch to provide a bridging loan, charged at commercial rates, to tide the company over while it restructured the business to focus on its long-haul operations.

Monarch's workforce has worked tirelessly and loyally, with great sacrifice, to try and turn the airline around in the last year. Their hard work has been undone by a Government seemingly content to sit on its hands and allow one of the UK's oldest airlines go into administration.

There were a number of factors that impacted negatively on the company. However, continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the ability of UK airlines to fly freely in Europe after the UK has left the EU undoubtedly hindered Monarch getting the investment it needed to restructure and survive.

This uncertainty, combined with the apparent unwillingness of the Government to assist at commercial rates and at a profit to the taxpayer, has left thousands of jobs at a great British airline hanging by a thread.

Now is not the time for Government ministers to wash their hands of a problem they have contributed to. Ministers need to act fast by intervening in a similar way as their German counterparts did with Air Berlin and help secure a future for Monarch."

– Union National officer Oliver Richardson

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