Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Monarch pilot jobless after email informs him of collapse

By Eamon Sweeney

A Northern Ireland pilot for the now-defunct Monarch Airlines has spoken of his shock at the company's collapse.

William Barron, who is 37 and from Londonderry, said he learned about the company's fate in the early hours of yesterday morning via an email.

The news came after last-ditch talks between Monarch and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) failed to hammer out a deal.

"My main problem now is that I need a job," Mr Barron told the Belfast Telegraph.

"That is my main thought and the only thing I am interested in at the moment."

The Derry-born pilot, who now lives in Derbyshire, captained flights for Monarch mainly between Birmingham and Spain.

He said he was stunned by the airline's demise.

Mr Barron said: "I am shocked that the company went under. All of my flights this summer had more passengers than last year.

"I will spend the next few days making sure that I have enough in the bank to keep me going for the next six months or a year.

"I had committed to a few things financially and will be trying to pull back on them. That's what I'll be working on."

Administrators KPMG have assumed control of what remains of the company, which was the UK's fifth largest airline and the largest ever in Britain to collapse.

Around 110,000 Monarch passengers are currently abroad, with 860,000 people having lost bookings. The company had suffered a £291m loss in the last year. Greybull Capital, a private equity firm had taken over the company in 2014.

News that the airline had collapsed came around 4am yesterday morning.

KPMG said that because it does not have a licence to operate an air company it had to wait until Monarch's last flight landed at Manchester from Tel Aviv before assuming control of the firm.

The CAA is dispatching 30 planes in the next two weeks to carry stranded customers home from their holidays.

Mr Barron said that, despite increasing speculation about doubts over the long-term future of Monarch, he remained optimistic that the company founded in Switzerland in 1968 would be safely sold on again to interested parties.

The airline's chief blamed terror attacks at three of Monarch's most popular destinations, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey as the 'root cause' of the company's demise.

Competition from other firms in the low-cost market is also thought to have contributed to the company's failure.

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