We are very sad to hear that Monarch Airlines has entered administration. Our sympathies are with tourists who have been left stranded and staff members who are now unemployed.

Monarch has traditionally been one of Egypt’s largest travel providers. Their CEO Andrew Swaffield has been quoted as describing the travel ban as one of the ‘root causes’ of Monarch’s collapse. As Monarch's post-mortem begins, the ongoing ban on UK flights into Sharm El-Sheikh airport will rightly come under the spotlight. If we do not want to hear of further similar stories, it is vital that the flight ban be lifted as soon as possible.

We, as a cross-Party group, have been calling for an end to the Sharm El-Sheikh travel ban since September 2016, following our visit and tour of the airport in July. The Egyptian government and hotel groups have spent over £20 million to ensure that Sharm El-Sheikh is now one of the safest airports in the Middle East and meets the demands laid out by the British government in 2015. A Department for Transport representative said in 2016 that the ‘conditions had been met to enable flights to resume.’ As these conditions have been met, there are no longer justifiable reasons for the ongoing ban. Monarch’s collapse shows that the ban is not only having a devastating effect on the Egyptian economy, but also damaging the British economy.

There may also be diplomatic consequences. UK-Egyptian relations are in danger of becoming strained as a result of the ongoing ban, with Egyptian officials publicly stating their puzzlement about why Britain persists with the ban when nearly every other European country has resumed flights to the resort. 

As a result of these factors, and in view of Monarch’s collapse, we believe the government should consider lifting the flight ban immediately.

Stephen co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt with Jonathan Lord MP.

Posted
AuthorStephen Timms