Monarch failure: More UK airlines risk collapse if Sharm flight ban not lifted, say MPs

Monarch failure: More UK airlines risk collapse if Sharm flight ban not lifted, say MPs

More UK airlines could be at risk of collapse if a travel ban over the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is not lifted, a parliamentary group has warned.

Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield told staff as he announced that Monarch had ceased operations in the early hours of Monday morning, that the “root cause” was the closure was due to terrorism, of Sharm el-Sheikh and Tunisia and the decimation of Turkey.

Swaffield told the BBC that “flights were being squeezed into a smaller number of destinations and a 25% reduction in ticket prices on our routes created a massive economic challenge for our short-haul network”.

The failure of Monarch prompted renews calls from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt, chaired by Jonathan Lord MP and Stephen Timms MP, to remove a travel ban on UK flights into Sharm el-Sheikh airport, The Daily Telegraph reported.

“If we do not want to hear of further similar stories, it is vital that the flight ban be lifted as soon as possible,” the group said.

The body said in August it had received no explanation as to why the flight restriction had not been lifted after Egyptian authorities went to “considerable lengths” to secure the destination’s airport.

Flights into the Red Sea resort’s airport were halted in the wake of the crash of a St Petersburg-bound Russian Metrojet aircraft in October 2015 due to a suspected terrorist bomb placed on board.

As well as advising against all but essential travel to Sharm el-Sheikh, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had also advised against travel to Tunisia, another region which was one of Monarch’s biggest markets.

However, the FCO eased its travel advice on Tunisia in July, meaning British holidaymakers could return, with Thomas Cook resuming flights from February 13 next year.

Thomas Cook earlier this year decided to cancel all holidays to the Sharm el-Sheikh region “until the flight ban is lifted”.

It had previously been selling tickets to the region on a “rolling cancellation” basis in expectations the ban would be lifted, but then cancelling those flights.

Thomas Cook said: “This ban does not extend to the resort area. However, as long as the flight ban remains in place, the resort is, in effect, closed for British tourists.

“When the advice changes and we can build it into our holiday programme, we look forward to flying customers from the UK to Sharm again so they can enjoy all the resort has to offer.”

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