Monarch Says Sinai Tourism May Take Year to Rebuild Post-Attack

  • Airline returns to profit after Greybull Capital buyout
  • Monarch targeting new year for restarting Sinai region flights

The Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Photographer: Ed Giles/Getty Images

Monarch Airlines, the U.K. short-haul airline bought by Greybull Capital LLP last year, said it may take as long as a year to rebuild tourist traffic to Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh after a Russian jetliner departing the resort town was downed by a suspected bomb attack.

The airline will be ready to re-start flights to the Sinai peninsula in early 2016, depending on the guidance of British and Egyptian authorities, though services will be less frequent than before the Oct. 31 crash of a Metrojet plane, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Swaffield said on a conference call with journalists Monday.

Traffic “will probably take the best part of a year to get back to where it was prior to closing, but that will be a gradual improvement,” and business will “begin to get back to full size by the end of next year,” Swaffield said.

EasyJet Plc and British Airways have also said they won’t resume flights to Sharm el-Sheik until January at the earliest. Some 20,000 Britons had to be evacuated from Sharm el-Sheikh after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a halt to scheduled flights amid concern a bomb was to blame for the loss of the Metrojet Airbus A321 plane bound for St. Petersburg.

While Monarch markets including Egypt, Cyprus and Greece have all been “slightly disappointing,” Swaffield said, customers looking for winter sun are opting for alternative destinations like Morocco and Spain and the airline is on track for “sustainable profitability.”

Full-year underlying earnings before interest and tax for the year ended Oct. 31 probably exceeded 40 million pounds ($60.4 million), compared with a loss of 130 million a year earlier, the carrier said in a statement.

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