The chief executive of failed airline Monarch has insisted that the company’s administration was timed to cause the least amount of disruption.
The troubled firm had collapsed in the early hours of Monday morning, leaving thousands of passengers stranded overseas.
The cost of repatriating the customers is expected to total £60million and is likely to take around a fortnight to complete.
This week, Monarch boss Andrew Swaffield said that senior figures had come to the conclusion that the company had exhausted its options on Saturday evening, but had waited more than 24 hours to call in administrators to allow the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) more time to prepare its emergency flights.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “What we tried to do is operate a normal schedule all day Sunday so we could be ready for the CAA’s rescue flights on Monday without a massive backlog. Had we stopped on Sunday there would have been no planes to rescue them.”
He noted that Britain’s insolvency laws wouldn’t have allowed the Government to step in to shore up the struggling airline, as German and Italian legislators had previously done to assist Air Berlin and Alitalia respectively.
“We don’t have that legal framework, we couldn’t continue operating,” he sid. “We spoke to a variety of sources, tried to leave no stone unturned, including trying to raise capital, selling parts of the company, and finally concluded that we had no prospect.”
The CAA said this week it was “working round the clock” with the Government to ensure that all Britons were repatriated by 15 October.
“We recognise that this will be a concerning time for many customers and we really appreciate their support,” said the organisation’s chief executive Andrew Haines.
“I want to thank all those involved in organising this mammoth operation, which has got off to a good start, and to reaffirm our commitment to those passengers still abroad that we will get them back to the UK.”
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