Plans to close a Monarch maintenance hangar at Manchester airport with the loss of more than 120 engineering jobs have been branded ‘a severe blow’ by the country’s largest union.

Along with the 123 Manchester jobs, the Unite union said it understood that 13 engineering jobs at Luton airport and several at Birmingham would also be lost.

The jobs sit within Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL), a division of Monarch Group.

However, Monarch Aircraft Engineering said there were 109 positions at risk for Manchester, 12 for Luton and two for Birmingham.

The maintenance hangar in Manchester provides the large-scale services for the Monarch fleet – this work will now be transferred to Birmingham and Luton. A maintenance line for quick turn-around services for aircraft will be maintained at Manchester.

Unite, which has more than 1,000 members working for Monarch in engineering and cabin crew roles, gave a cautious welcome to the deal which saw Greybull Capital take control from the Mantegazza family in October 2014.

The union’s national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “Eighteen months ago our members at Monarch made significant sacrifices in terms of their pay, and terms and conditions to help secure the deal with Greybull Capital.

“So it is very disappointing and a severe blow to our engineering members to hear this news when they have played their part in turning around Monarch and making the airline the profitable business that it is today.”

Unite regional officer Paul Bouch aded: “The company blames a lack of work for these job losses – and not the level of summer bookings. Unite will be giving maximum support to our engineering members affected at Monarch in the days and weeks to come.

“We have our first meeting with management on Thursday where we will be pressing very hard to avoid compulsory redundancies and also for redeployment, wherever possible.”

Andy Mackay, head of maintenance at Monarch Aircraft Engineering, said the company was “fully committed to retaining talent, skills and expertise within our business”.

He added: “In the event that redundancies become necessary, we will offer alternative roles to all those affected, with relocation to our other facilities.”