03/10/2017 11:02 BST

Monarch Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield 'Absolutely Devastated' By Collapse Of The Airline

Almost 2,000 people have lost their jobs.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Monarch is the biggest UK airline in history to go into administration 

The chief executive of Monarch Airlines has said he is “absolutely devastated” the carrier has collapsed, saying “we tried everything”. 

The fall of the UK’s fifth biggest airline yesterday saw 1,858 of the company’s employees made redundant overnight, while 300,000 flights were immediately cancelled. 

News that Monarch had gone into administration also triggered the UK’s “biggest ever peacetime repatriation” as the government sought to bring back 110,000 passengers stranded abroad.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) believes that the rescue flights will cost around £60 million, the BBC reported

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, Monarch CEO Andrew Swaffield expressed his “sorrow” for the “disruption that has been caused to our customers by the failure of the company”. 

Jasmin Gray
Deserted Monarch check in desks at Gatwick Airport just hours after the company's collapse was announced 

Yesterday, customers at Gatwick Airport were barred from boarding flights just minutes before they were due to take off, while thousands of travellers across the country were turned away from airports following the news. 

“We are all absolutely devastated for the customers,” he said. 

Swaffield also apologised to the staff who had lost their jobs, calling the company a “great family”.

Monarch bosses are now talking to competitor airlines in attempt to find former employees work, he added. 

According to the former CEO, Monarch was projected to lose “well over £100 million” next year, with terrorism and falling ticket prices to blame for the company’s collapse. 

“We couldn’t figure out a way of reducing those losses significantly, either by selling the short-haul airline or by improving it,” Swaffield said. 

“We tried everything and asked for expert advice from respective consulting firms, but we just couldn’t find a way in the end and we reached the end of the road late on Saturday night, made the decision and filed on Monday morning.” 

Yesterday, more than 12,000 former Monarch passengers were brought home on rescue flights, with the same amount set to return today.