Travel Secretary says focus is on getting employees new jobs and bringing passengers home following the collapse of Monarch
Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins was at the House of Commons on Monday where the Transport Secretary spoke about the collapse of Monarch Airlines.
The airline, based at Luton airport, went into administration on Monday, October 2, leaving 110,000 people overseas, 750,000 future bookings cancelled and almost 2,000 people without a job.
Chris Grayling, The Transport Secretary, told the Commons he would focus on finding ways for airlines to “wind down in an orderly manner and look after customers” in the event of insolvency, he also spoke about how they are bringing people home and how they are supporting those who lost their jobs.
The statement came as the Labour party and unions demanded an investigation into Monarch’s failure including the costs to the taxpayer in bringing people back to the UK.
Mr Grayling said: “We have put arrangements in place to bring back 110,000 people to the UK, with 700 flights over a two-week period. As of last night (Monday), around 80,000 passengers had returned to the UK.
“I am pleased to report that airlines have already directly appealed to those former employees. All former Monarch employees will have received information from Jobcentre Plus outlining the support available to them. In total, Jobcentre Plus has pulled together a list of more than 6,300 vacancies across the major UK-based airlines—that is more than three times the number of people being made redundant—which I hope will help those former employees to remain in the airline business.
“Right now our efforts are rightly focused on getting employees into new jobs and getting passengers home. After that, our effort will turn to working through any reforms necessary to ensure that passengers do not find themselves in this position again.
“We need to look at all the options—not just ATOL, but whether it is possible to enable airlines to wind down in an orderly manner and look after their customers themselves, without the need for the Government to step in.”
Mr Grayling then spoke about how to avoid this situation in the future, he said: “We have to understand whether we can make sensible changes to the laws to ensure that this does not happen again.
“We are already legislating to extend the ATOL scheme to provide better protection for people who book over the internet in a different way from how they have in the past.”
The Secretary of State for Transport was asked about the cost of the repatriation exercise, he said: “We expect the total gross costs of the repatriation to be around £60 million.
“We will recover money from all those different groups, and I will in due course be able to tell the House exactly how much the taxpayer has contributed. However, my hon. Friend can be reassured that we are very focused on making sure that there is clear burden sharing, and that it is not only the taxpayer who pays.”