Ministers are to consider reforms which will mean failed airlines such as Monarch can “wind down in an orderly manner”, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has told MPs.
It comes after a £60m operation to help repatriate some of the 110,000 customers stranded abroad by the collapse of the carrier, an effort partly funded by the Government.
Mr Grayling said 80,000 people had now been brought back to the UK in the operation, which has been organised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The airline’s collapse also saw 750,000 who had yet to travel lose their bookings.
Mr Grayling told the Commons that the Government would examine any necessary reforms to ensure passengers “do not find themselves in this position again”.
He added: “We need to look at all the options… whether it’s possible for airlines to be able to wind down in an orderly manner and look after their customers themselves without the need for the Government to step in.
“We’ll be putting a lot of effort into this in the months ahead.”
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Mr Grayling said the Government was in talks with credit and debit card firms and travel booking companies about recovering some of the costs to taxpayers of the Monarch operation.
Image: Passengers yet to travel had their bookings cancelled
Part of the expense was also covered by the industry’s Atol scheme.
Meanwhile, Mr Grayling said that Job Centre Plus had identified 6,300 vacancies at UK-based airlines after 2,000 people lost their jobs as a result of Monarch’s collapse.
He added that the collapse of the airline was “not an issue around Brexit” – telling MPs the business had been struggling for three years and was squeezed by an industry price war.
However the SNP’s Patricia Gibson said there was “no denying that the fall in the pound has led to a significant increase in operating costs for this airline over the past year” while the weakness of sterling had also affected consumers and led to a drop in bookings.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald blamed Monarch’s collapse on a “litany of failures” by Government, the regulator and the company’s financial backers and advisers.
He added that the aviation industry was also caught up in the “foggy skies of Brexit” with a lack of certainty after March 2019.