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The Monarch and I

A view into the struggles of a post Monarch pilot.

“In addition to supporting passengers, we have also been working across government to ensure the almost 2,000 former Monarch employees receive the support they need.” – written statement to Parliament (CAA, Dept. of Transport & Chris Greyling MP) October 9th 2017

October 2nd signalled the end of a fifty-nine-year run for the Luton based airliner, and the abrupt loss of work for over 1850 people, stunned and struggling to come to terms with the immediate loss of livelihood without any forewarning many people were left without alternatives,  Thomas Bell was a First Officer when the company collapsed:

“I was on line training, essentially learning how to operate the aircraft in real world situations with passengers, I was approximately five days away from being released to the line (finishing training)”

Like many former monarch employees, Tom was left stranded and with being so close to finishing his training left without his full wings. Commenting on how finding work again was a lot of legwork with minimal support being offered from the company in response to the events. “Monarch (via KPMG administration) offered job fairs but 90% were companies like National express and Butlins and even Marks and Spencers. Our pilot union offered better ones but ultimately it just required a bit of leg work from us, basically going to job events for specific companies, networking and having to go to foreign countries to do the job interviews”

Photo Credit: Thomas Bell (Facebook)
Pictured: First Officer Bell in the cockpit of an Airbus A321-200                                         Photo Credit: Thomas Bell (Facebook)

Tom is due to restart his training programme on 15th January 2018 with an Eastern European airliner and will be living abroad for the duration of his training, three and a half months after losing his seemingly long term career making opportunity with Monarch. Being out of work for this long duration can  be damaging to a young pilot’s development as flight time and incidents are the basis on how a pilot is assessed, meaning that Tom has missed out on many hours of flights throughout the last few months. “I’ll have to start all over again and the new company I’ll work for actually has a longer training programme”  The result of this huge delay is affecting many young pilots as they try to hone their skills in the air, and it could take an extra few months until Tom himself is back in a real world flight situation.

Pictured: First Officer Bell in full flight uniform on the ramp at Prestwick Airport Photo Credit: Thomas Bell (Facebook)