October 16, 2017 / 4:58 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 2-Owner of failed airline Monarch should contribute to customer repatriation -UK transport minister

(Adds Greybull Capital comment)

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The owner of failed British airline Monarch should, in principle, foot some of the bill for a massive repatriation effort co-ordinated by the country’s aviation authority, British transport minister Chris Grayling said on Monday.

Monarch collapsed two weeks ago, wrecking the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of Britons, a year after owner Greybull Capital secured a bailout for the struggling airline.

Asked by lawmakers whether Greybull Capital should contribute to the costs of returning tourists to Britain, Grayling said that if the investment firm ends up with a gain after the administration process, a payment towards repatriation costs would demonstrate goodwill.

“There’s no formal legal mechanism that we can use, but in terms of the principle I completely agree,” Grayling told a panel of lawmakers.

“I would hope that if any of the creditors end up with money in pocket, whether they might indeed consider doing that.”

He also said it could take weeks to determine how much money might be recovered from credit card companies and insurers.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Monday said that it had completed its programme to repatriate the 110,000 Monarch customers who were abroad when the airline went bust, which is estimated to have cost the government around 60 million pounds ($79.49 million).

However Grayling said that any contribution from Greybull Capital could depend on how the administration process played out.

“We agree with (Grayling) that it is too early in the administration process for anyone to know the outcome for creditors,” a spokesman for Greybull Capital said in a statement, adding the investment firm had provided “significant capital” to Monarch since it took over the airline in 2014.

“We remain deeply sorry and saddened by the failure of Monarch despite the best efforts of so many to turn around the company. ... We have acted responsibly and with integrity throughout the process.” ($1 = 0.7548 pounds)

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Andy Bruce, David Goodman and Jonathan Oatis

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