Lift Sharm El-Sheikh Travel Ban to Prevent Further Airline Collapses Like Monarch's, MPs Urge

Sharm el Sheik, Egypt // Photo by slava296/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by Hannah Boland, The Telegraph, October 6, 2017

A parliamentary group has warned more UK airlines could be at risk of collapse if travel bans over holiday destinations such as Sharm El-Sheikh are not lifted.

The chief executive of Monarchwhich fell into administration in the early hours of Monday morning, cited terrorist attacks, and resulting travel bans in areas such as Tunisia and Egypt, as one of the 'root causes' behind the airline's demise. 

Andrew Swaffield told the BBC that "flights were being squeezed into a smaller number of destinations and a 25pc reduction in ticket prices on our routes created a massive economic challenge for our short-haul network". 

He said he was "absolutely devastated" by the closure of Monarch. 

According to its owner, Greybull Capital, terrorism had hit Monarch's annual sales by around £150m. Monarch posted a pre-tax loss of £291m in the year to October 2016.

The airline's collapse prompted renews calls from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt, chaired by Jonathan Lord MP and Stephen Timms MP,  to remove a travel ban on UK flights into Sharm El-Sheikh airport.

"If we do not want to hear of further similar stories, it is vital that the flight ban be lifted as soon as possible," the group said.

In August, the group said it had received no explanation as to why the flight restriction had not been lifted after Egyptian authorities went to "considerable lengths” to secure the destination's airport. 

Flights into Sharm El-Sheikh airport were halted in the wake of the crash of a St Petersburg-bound aircraft in October 2015, understood to have been the result of a bomb placed on-board.

As well as advising against all but essential travel to Sharm, The Foreign Office had also advised against travel to Tunisia, another region which was one of Monarch's biggest markets.

However, in late July, it eased its advice on Tunisia, meaning British holidaymakers could once again visit the area. 

Thomas Cook earlier this year decided to cancel all holidays to the Sharm El-Sheikh region "until the flight ban is lifted". It had previously been selling tickets to the region on a "rolling cancellation" basis in expectations the ban would be lifted, but then cancelling those flights. 

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This article was written by Hannah Boland from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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