'Truly sorry' Monarch chief blames terror attacks for revenue problems

Andrew Swaffield said he was "so sorry" for causing "huge inconvenience to customers".

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The "root cause" of Monarch's reduction in revenue was terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia as well as the "decimation" of Turkey, according to the company's boss.

Chief executive Andrew Swaffield said the airline was carrying 14% more passengers than last year for £100 million less revenue.

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It was badly affected by the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner which departed from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, an attack in Sousse, Tunisia, during the same year which left 30 Britons dead and a 2016 attempted coup in Turkey.

Andrew Swaffield
Andrew Swaffield (Monarch Group/PA)

In a letter to staff which he described as "the update I hoped I would never have to write", Mr Swaffield explained that the firm went into administration "despite our best efforts".

He said Monarch attempted to "pivot our airline from short-haul to long-haul to reduce losses", but was unable to find a "deliverable offer" from a buyer for its short-haul operations or assets.

Mr Swaffield said he was "so sorry" for causing "huge inconvenience to customers".

Information board directing Monarch passengers to the airline desk at Gatwick Airport
(Simon Stirrat via AP)

He went on: "We are working with the joint administrators and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to do everything we possibly can to help minimise disruption where we can, but are under no illusion as to the problems this will cause.

"And many suppliers will suffer hugely as a result of our insolvency - for which I am equally sorry."

Mr Swaffield told his employees that they can "all hold your heads up high and be proud of what you achieved at Monarch".

He added: "It has been a company that has cared for its customers and which has been like a family for many people for five decades. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to avoid this outcome and how truly sorry I am."