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Dozens of staff in Bromley lose jobs after Monarch Airlines falls into administration

PUBLISHED: 15:58 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 03 October 2017

A Monarch plane at Luton Airport after the airline collapsed into administration resulting in future bookings and holidays being cancelled and the government asking the CAA to charter more than 30 planes to bring customers overseas back to the UK. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A Monarch plane at Luton Airport after the airline collapsed into administration resulting in future bookings and holidays being cancelled and the government asking the CAA to charter more than 30 planes to bring customers overseas back to the UK. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation operation is under way to return 110,000 customers following the collapse on Monday morning

Dozens of staff in Bromley are losing their jobs after Monarch airline and tour group fell into administration.

The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation operation got underway at the start of the week to return 110,000 customers following the collapse on Monday morning.

That same day, the airline announced 1,858 employees had lost their jobs.

At its Bromley office 59 of its 80 employees went home jobless on Monday.

Sales, IT and customer services workers based at the airline and tour group’s Wren Court offices lost their jobs, while 21 HR workers were kept on.

A spokesperson from administrators KPMG said: “We’ve kept the whole HR team on to make sure we’re able to provide as much assistance to other employees as possible and in other administrative functions which are being kept on to help administrators as we wind down the business.”

Partner at KPMG and Joint Administrator Blair Nimmo commented, “We know that today has been a very sad and difficult day for the Monarch employees. Shortly before the appointment of the Joint Administrators, all employees received an email from the Company confirming that it was about to enter administration. Following this, the absolute priority for me and my team was to try and make contact with all members of staff as soon as possible, in order that we could communicate what the administration means for them.

“Regrettably, with the business no longer able to fly, a significant number of redundancies were made.

“Over the coming days, my team will be doing all it can to assist the employees in submitting claims to the Redundancy Payments Office for monies owed.”

In the last year the airline had taken 14 per cent more customers but revenue was £100 million less, while adverse movement of the pound against the dollar had increased costs including fuel, handling charges and lease payments.

Unite, which represents around 1,800 engineers and cabin crew working for Monarch, said it understands that potential investors and buyers were deterred by the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The union 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.

Such assistance is not without precedent and was recently given by the German government to Air Berlin, said Unite.

The union’s national officer Oliver Richardson said: “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.

“The government must also secure the current freedoms to fly that UK airlines enjoy in Brexit negotiations as a matter of urgency to stabilise confidence in the airline industry.”

Among the passengers stranded is Mark Henson, 50, from Dover, who arrived at Luton airport at 4am for a flight to Portugal, and was told it had been cancelled.

He said: “We got told to go home: ‘We can’t help you so you may as well go home.’

“He told me I wouldn’t be be able to get a flight.”

Mr Henson was able to book two seats on a flight on Monday evening but said it was a “scandal” that prices on other airlines were so high.

He accused companies of “money-making” out of “somebody else’s misery”.

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