Monarch to end charter services

18 Aug 2014 by BusinessTraveller

Monarch Airlines has confirmed it will cease all remaining charter services from next summer, and will also drop flights from East Midlands airport.

The UK carrier is currently carrying out a strategic review, covering “all areas of the business from operations to ownership and financing”, with several media outlets reporting that up to 1,000 jobs could be lost and long-haul services ditched.

Monarch has yet to confirm these reports, but a press release states that the carrier will “move completely to scheduled flying from summer 2015, as it continues its transformation to become a scheduled European low-cost carrier”.

The airline said that scheduled services now account for 85 per cent of its flying, and admitted that “the continuation of charter services is now incompatible with operating the efficient schedule that Monarch is planning for the future”.

It added that some of its remaining charter routes “may become part of the airline’s scheduled programme for summer 2015”.

In 2011 Monarch announced it was cancelling its order for six Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, citing a decision to focus on short-haul operations (see news September 2011). The carrier is set to take delivery of 30 Boeing B737 Max 8 aircraft from 2018.

In recent years the carrier has gone head-to-head with established low-cost airlines Easyjet and Ryanair, on scheduled routes including London Gatwick to Barcelona.

The Luton-based airline has also confirmed it will cease flights from East Midlands by the end of April 2015. In a statement Monarch said that it would continue to offer services from its base at Birmingham airport, located around 40 miles from East Midlands.

According to The Derby Telegraph Ryanair will next year increase frequencies on selected routes from East Midlands currently served by both Monarch and Ryanair, and will also add a new route to Malta (currently operated by Monarch).

Earlier this year Monarch announced plans to introduce non-reclining seats across its fleet (see news May 30).

Mark Caswell

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