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.
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.