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Monarch Airlines and Paddy Power in betting row

30 December 09 11:37 GMT

Monarch Airlines has hit back at bookmaker Paddy Power for running a book suggesting it could be the next carrier to collapse.

The bookmaker has slashed its odds on Monarch being the next airline to go bust from 50-1 to 4-1 after taking more than 100 bets over Christmas.

"If it wasn't so serious it would be laughable," said Monarch managing director Tim Jeans.

Paddy Power said it did not have any insider information.

Mr Jeans said Monarch was "very secure" and had been "consistently profitable" over its 40-year history.

People may have bet on Monarch going bust after two other charter airlines went out of business - XL last year and Globespan earlier this month, he said.

"People put two and two together and say Monarch's a charter airline and make their bets accordingly. But Monarch's business is far different from those people," he said.

'Not helpful'

When asked if Monarch was likely to go out of business in the next year, he replied: "It just won't happen."

He went on: "We have 6.5 milllion customers... and 2,500 employees who won't find this at all helpful or at all funny.

"There are far safer homes for people's money," he added, suggesting that Paddy Power's odds of 18-1 on Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary to be the next boss of British Airways would be a better bet.

Paddy Power said reducing its odds did not necessarily mean the airline was about to collapse.

"Our punters have put money on Monarch to be the next airline out of a big list of airlines to go bust, and that's the only information we have," the bookmaker said.

"It probably will [turn out to be false] because we've had false favourites in this market before that punters haven't collected on, but have gambled [on] nonetheless."

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