MPs mull probe into Monarch Airlines collapse as pilot union calls for investigation

Rebecca Smith
Monarch ceased trading last week
Monarch ceased trading last week (Source: Getty)

The Transport Select Committee is mulling a probe into the collapse of Monarch Airlines, as a pilots' union called for further investigation into the circumstances behind the carrier's demise.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) yesterday called for an investigation into the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

The union, which represents 400 ex-Monarch pilots who lost their jobs a week ago, is calling on the government to look into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of Monarch and the role of the firm's former financial backers.

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood, said the committee will seek further information from the transport secretary when he appears before it next week.

She said:

We don't yet know the whole story behind this, but I expect that members will want to understand more of the detail. If there is any question of impropriety, the Committee will consider the appropriate channels for further investigation.

Read more: A fifth of Monarch passengers have been flown back to the UK

Balpa said it had a series of questions over the collapse, including whether the group needed to file for insolvency on 2 October, and wanted further detail on reports that Boeing had been injecting capital into the airline from October 2016.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Monarch pilots made huge pay and pensions sacrifices in 2014 to help Monarch turn itself around only to find that this was all in vain. They feel they did this simply to protect the financiers and they have been sacrificed in the process.

“There is a lot of understandable anger which, on the basis of recent reports, does seem to have some justification and there are concerns this mirrors the Philip Green/BHS pension stitch up."

He added:

In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of Monarch customers who want to know what happened and why they were still being sold flights on 1 October when the company Board had already decided it was going into administration.

For all these reasons, I believe the House of Commons Transport Committee should urgently investigate all the circumstances and make its findings public.

Last week, Balpa said it will be seeking compensation for the "shabby way" its pilots were notified of the firm's demise, while Unite said it was launching legal action on behalf of 1,800 Monarch workers who lost their jobs after the firm collapsed.

A spokesperson for the joint administrators at KPMG said a key priority was to make sure all Monarch staff were communicated with "as quickly and as openly as possible" following their appointment early on the morning of Monday 2 October.

Read more: Unite union launches legal action on behalf of 1,800 Monarch workers

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