Comment: Sector needs strong Monarch

Comment: Sector needs strong Monarch

I have a slight sense of déjà vu writing this, as we go to press on Tuesday evening.

Two years ago, the CAA gave Monarch a month’s extension to secure vital funding from new investors Greybull Capital, before renewing the group’s Atol licence.

This week, the airline was reported to be going through a similar exercise while it works to secure another cash injection before the latest renewal deadline.

It was a torrid time for chief executive Andrew Swaffield and the team in 2014 and they were no doubt putting the hours in again this week.

There was a tremendous amount of goodwill two years ago and there will have been the same this week, as the alternative would be a massive blow not just for Monarch and its fantastic employees, but for the wider industry.

Monarch has suffered from a post-Brexit slump in the pound, the loss of Egypt flights, a destination to which it had a major flying programme, and reduced yields on core Spanish routes.

Contrary to how it may have seemed this week, as Monarch was forced to deny rumours emanating on

social media that it was in difficulty (page 4), it has been upfront about its trading.

Just two weeks ago at an industry event, Swaffield set out the challenges the firm has faced this summer. He sounded bullish about its prospects, albeit previously confirming new funds were required.

It’s a great shame that worst-case contingency plans reportedly put in place by the CAA have leaked and piled on more pressure. But like everyone who cares about

the industry, we are all hoping a solution is found and confidence can be restored.


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