|Founded||5 June 1967|
|Commenced operations||5 April 1968|
|Frequent-flyer program||Vantage Club|
|Destinations||100+ (30 scheduled)|
|Headquarters||London Luton Airport
Luton, United Kingdom
Monarch Airlines, also known as and trading as Monarch, is a British airline based at Luton Airport, operating scheduled flights to destinations in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Turkey, with additional charter services to Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, India and Africa.
Owned by Globus Travel Group, the airline's headquarters are at Luton with other bases at Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, Gatwick and Manchester. Monarch is the oldest UK airline to have not changed its original name. It has around 3000 employees.
Monarch Airlines carried over 6.8 million passengers during 2013, an 8% increase compared with 2012 and a record total for the airline. In June 2010, the airline was ranked 58th in the Sunday Times Top Track 100 listing the biggest privately held[nb 1] British companies in terms of their sales. The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Type A Operating Licence, permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
Monarch Airlines was formed on 5 June 1967 with financial backing from the Swiss Mantegazza family, as a subsidiary of Globus Getaway Holdings. At the time of Monarch's inception, the Mantegazza family were the owners of UK-based tour operator Cosmos Tours (now Cosmos Holidays).
Monarch began commercial airline operations on 5 April 1968 with a charter flight from Luton to Madrid using a former Caledonian Airways Bristol 175 Britannia 300 turboprop. The airline's initial fleet comprised two Bristol Britannias (both ex-Caledonian).
The airline acquired additional Britannias from the administrators of British Eagle in 1969, its second year of operation. This was the first time the company carried 250,000 passengers within a 12-month period utilising a fleet of six Britannias.
Monarch entered the jet age in 1971 when three Boeing 720Bs joined its fleet. The airline's first commercial jet service took to the air on 13 December 1971. The introduction of the company's first jet aircraft type also coincided with the adoption of a revised livery.
In 1972, the airline carried 500,000 passengers in one year for the first time.
By 1976, Monarch had transitioned to an all-jet fleet following the sale of the airline's last Britannia to Greek cargo charter airline Afrek on 21 May of that year.[nb 2] (This event had been preceded two years earlier by the retirement of the airline's last passenger-configured Britannia, the only remaining example of its kind in UK commercial airline service which operated the type's final commercial passenger flight in Europe on 9 October 1974.) The changeover to an all-jet fleet was brought about as a result of the acquisition of a further two second-hand Boeing 720Bs as well as the addition of a pair of BAC One-Eleven 500s, which had been sourced from British Caledonian and the administrators of the failed Court Line respectively.
At the end of 1980, Monarch Airlines took delivery of its first new jet aircraft, a pair of Boeing 737-200 Advanced, which had been acquired on an operating lease from Bavaria Leasing (at the time a unit of Hapag Lloyd Airlines). One of the newly delivered 737s was stationed at Tegel Airport in what used to be West Berlin in the days before the German reunification at the beginning of the 1981 summer season. The Berlin-based aircraft operated short to medium-haul charter flights to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands under contract to Flug-Union Berlin, at the time one of West Berlin's leading package tour operators. Monarch had taken over Flug-Union Berlin's charter programme from Laker Airways. The addition of the 737s expanded Monarch's fleet to 11 jet aircraft, comprising one Boeing 707-320C, five Boeing 720Bs, three BAC One-Eleven 500s and two Boeing 737-200 Advs.
In 1981, new stations were opened at Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester and Berlin Tegel. This was the first time Monarch Airlines carried a million passengers in a single year. 1981 was also the year Monarch became the first charter airline to order the Boeing 757-200, a high-capacity, medium-haul single-aisle plane powered by Rolls-Royce RB211-535C engines. Monarch's 757 order represented a major step change for a small airline. Its first 757 was delivered and entered service in the spring of 1983. This coincided with the introduction of an updated livery, the third in the airline's history.
In spring 1985, the CAA awarded Monarch Airlines licences to begin scheduled services to Málaga, Minorca and Tenerife. This enabled the airline to launch its first-ever scheduled service from Luton to Minorca on 5 July 1986, under the brand name Monarch crown service.
1986 saw the acquisition of Monarch's first Boeing 737-300 aircraft. From November 1988, four of Monarch's 737-300s were leased out to Euroberlin France, a Berlin Tegel based Franco-German joint venture airline that was 51% owned by Air France and 49% by Lufthansa. Apart from the aircraft itself, Monarch Airlines also provided the flightdeck crew and maintenance support (through sister company Monarch Aircraft Engineering) for this airline. By 1990, seven 737-300s were assigned to the Euroberlin wet lease. On 1 May 1988 Monarch operated the first ETOPs Trans Atlantic operation under CAA regulations. The Boeing 757-200ER G-MONJ operated Luton to Orlando via Gander with 235 passengers the first UK twin jet to ever cross the North Atlantic with passengers. Today it is commonplace on North Atlantic crossings.
1988 was the first time Monarch Airlines carried more than two million passengers in a year.
In 1990, Monarch Airlines introduced the Airbus A300-600R, its first widebodied aircraft type, and opened a new purpose-built headquarters that also housed the airline's own Boeing 757 flight simulator at its Luton base.
During the early 1990s, Monarch Airlines operated several Boeing 767-300ER widebodies on behalf of Alitalia Team, a unit of Italy's flag carrier, under a wet lease arrangement similar to the one Monarch had with Euroberlin France.
In 1993, Monarch Airlines introduced the first Airbus A320 aircraft into its fleet. (The first of the larger Airbus A321s joined Monarch's fleet in 1997.) Airbus A320 family aircraft eventually replaced the airline's Boeing 737-300s.
In 1998, Monarch Airlines leased two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 widebodied aircraft from World Airways for its long-haul operations whilst awaiting the delivery of a pair of new Airbus A330-200 widebodies. Following the A330s arrival in 1999, Monarch returned the MD-11s to World Airways. The new A330 widebodies permitted Monarch to serve long-haul charter destinations with a two class seating configuration, another first for the airline.
Monarch's sole McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was retired from service in 2002 and was donated to Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park. In 2002, Monarch also unveiled a brand-new livery – the airline's fourth. Also, the company re-branded its Monarch Crown Service scheduled division as Monarch Scheduled. Monarch Scheduled continued to offer a full service product, including free catering, bar service, hot towels, newspapers and in-flight entertainment (IFE).
In November 2005, Monarch opened a base in Málaga. The airline based one Airbus A320 aircraft there. Monarch launched three scheduled services from Málaga, to Aberdeen, Blackpool and Newquay. The Newquay service was discontinued on 30 April 2006. About a year later, scheduled services from Málaga to Blackpool were also dropped due to low demand. On 27 October 2007, flights to Aberdeen were withdrawn as well. This resulted in closure of Monarch's Málaga base.
To operate scheduled services from Manchester, an Airbus A321 was acquired. Monarch became the airport's second-largest passenger airline in 2005 with 1.72m passengers using its services from/to the airport. Monarch's total passenger numbers increased from 4.55m in 2002 to 6.5m in 2008.
In August 2006, Monarch ordered six Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner widebodied jets, primarily for use on long-haul routes. Delivery was planned to start in 2010; however, delays to the 787 project pushed back delivery to 2013, and in September 2011, the airline cancelled the order citing its strategic decision to concentrate on short-/medium-haul operations.
On 27 April 2007, Monarch Airlines started flights to Ibiza partnered with club brand HedKandi, naming the partnership "FlyKandi". One of Monarch's Boeing 757s (G-MOND) received a special FlyKandi livery with billboard FlyKandi titles and a special tail motif. The HedKandi partnership lasted for the 2007 summer season, with flights to Ibiza being sold from four major UK airports. It was then renewed for the 2008 summer season, offering the same services. This time FlyKandi livery was applied to G-MONJ. HedKandi CDs and radio stations were available for purchase and to listen to on board Monarch aircraft.
In 2008, Monarch changed the name of its website from flymonarch.com to monarch.co.uk. It also changed its advertising slogan to "The Low Fare Airline That Cares".
In 2008, Monarch provided the aircraft, an Airbus A321, to launch the ITV2 television programme CelebAir. Celebrities were trained and took on duties performed by airline staff, such as cabin crew. The destinations to which CelebAir flew were mainly Monarch's scheduled destinations, including Málaga, Alicante, Tenerife, Faro, Ibiza, Mahón and Larnaca. These flights carried fare-paying passengers. The programme first aired on 2 September 2008. The programme has now finished with Lisa Maffia winning the series, Amy Lamé finishing second and Chico Slimani finishing third.
After many years of operating profitably, Monarch Group, the parent company of Monarch Airlines and Cosmos Holidays, reported a large pre-tax loss of £32.3m in the financial year ending in 2009. This necessitated a £45m cash injection from the Mantegazzas who have [co-]owned the group since its inception. The Mantegazza's cash injection was accompanied by a change in strategy that saw Monarch Airlines changing its focus from being primarily a charter airline to becoming a predominantly "scheduled leisure airline", with a target of 80% of its business being scheduled (compared with only 20% in 2005). The new strategy has already resulted in introduction of additional scheduled services to new destinations in Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Spain and Portugal, including the launch on 23 May 2011 of a three times weekly scheduled service to the Greek island of Corfu — the airline's first scheduled Greek destination – from London Luton. France and Italy are expected to join Monarch's scheduled network in 2012.
To increase Monarch's attractiveness as a viable alternative to EasyJet and Ryanair, its main low-cost competitors, all debit card charges were abolished and only a £10 flat rate is applied to credit card transactions. To highlight these differences as additional selling points, Monarch has introduced the advertising slogan Fly Your Way Every Day. together with a new logo incorporating the airline's old capital "M" and crown. Also, a new livery was introduced.
Although Monarch made a £1.4m profit in 2010, it reported a £45m loss in the financial year ending 31 October 2011 as a result of high jet fuel prices against the backdrop of a stagnant economy and political turmoil in the Middle East. Higher fuel prices increased the airline's annual fuel bill by £50m.
In a related announcement made on 31 October 2011, Monarch confirmed the closure of its charter base at Dublin Airport.
On 3 November 2011, Monarch received a £75m rescue package for the airline. It was then announced that Monarch were to launch of 14 additional routes serving new destinations in Italy, Croatia and Greece from their bases. The new flights commenced at the start of the 2012 summer season. Monarch also received two Airbus A320 aircraft to support the increased level of activity. The addition of these aircraft also marks the first stage of a medium-term plan to increase the fleet size to 40 aircraft in support of the airline's goal to carry 10 million passengers annually by the time the final stage has been fully implemented. Growing the fleet to enable an increase in passenger numbers will allow the airline to spread its fixed costs over a higher level of output, thus resulting in greater economies of scale.
On 3 May 2012, Monarch announced that they were to open a new base at East Midlands Airport in Autumn 2012, to replace some routes previously flown by Bmibaby, who ceased operations completely on 9 September 2012.
On 8 May 2012 the airline announced operations from Leeds/Bradford with 2 new winter destinations, Munich and Grenoble. They also announced plans for a large expansion in summer 2013.  On 10 July 2012, it was announced that Monarch were to launch a new base at Leeds/Bradford with 12 new destinations. The base opened on 22 March 2013.
On 13 December 2012 Monarch announced that they have come on board as a new sponsor for Leeds United AFC, working in partnership with Leeds United to promote Monarch's new base and routes at Leeds Bradford Airport.
On 1 July 2013, Monarch announced an order for a further two Airbus A321s. The aircraft are due to be delivered in April and May 2015 and are to be fitted with sharklets.
On 12 December 2013, Monarch announced that Monarch Airlines had returned to profit in year ending October 2013 and announced that passenger numbers were up 9.5% to 7 million and in line to carry over 10 million by 2016. In the same announcement Monarch confirmed that it plans to order 60 new aircraft in an order worth $6 Billion for delivery up to 2024 and would announce the successful tender in Q1 of 2014 from either Airbus/Boeing and Bombardier.
On 14 August 2014, Monarch announced the closure of their East Midlands base.
- Amerald Investments (88%)
- Atlantic Financial Services (7%)
- Abaco Holdings (4%).
The Monarch fleet consists of the following aircraft as of July 2014:
|Airbus A300-600R||2||—||—||361||361||Retired, awaiting de-registration|
|Airbus A321-200||27||2||—||214||214||Orders Due, 2015|
|Boeing 757-200||3||—||—||229||229||Chartered To be retired at the end of 2014.|
In July 2014 the airline announced as part of its fleet replacement plans that it had selected Boeing with the Boeing 737MAX as the preferred bidder for 30 aircraft.
Monarch previously operated the following aircraft:
Monarch Historical Fleet
|Aircraft||Total||Time of operation||Notes|
|BAC One-Eleven 500||3||1974–1986|
|Boeing 737-300||12||1988–1997||Replaced by Airbus A320-200s and Airbus A321-200s|
|Boeing 767-300ER||1||2005–2010||Leased from MyTravel for five years.|
|Bristol Britannia 300||8||1967–1976||One at Duxford Airfield|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10||1||1996–2002||Front section at Manchester Airport Viewing Park, Special Crew use|
|Airbus A300-600R||4||1991–2014||2 still awaiting Deregistration|
Monarch Airlines carried 6.8 million passengers during 2013, 6 million travelling on scheduled flights and 800,000 on charter flights operated by the airline.
|Total passengers||Total flights||Load factor||Passenger Change YoY||Total passengers||Total flights||Load factor||Passenger Change YoY||Total passengers||Total flights||Load factor||Passenger Change YoY|
|Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority|
- Monarch offers pre-bookable meals at an extra charge, as well as a buy-on-board service.
- During the flight there is the option to buy products such as fragrances on board the aircraft.
- There is a bi-monthly in-flight magazine including a travel guide, a map of Monarch's destinations, snacks on board and the shopping available to buy.
- In-flight entertainment (IFE) is available on all long-haul flights, showing either television programmes or films. There is also a limited IFE selection on medium-haul flights.
- Premium upgrades are predominantly available on long haul routes, which include more legroom and entertainment.
- Monarch now offers a personal in- flight entertainment system for its passengers, via a mobile app called 'M player' that can be downloaded for free on Android and Apple devices. The service is currently available on selected aircraft, but will be introduced across the whole fleet in the coming months.
- FlightOnTime.info Most Improved UK Charter Airline for Punctuality – Summer 2007
- Travel Trade Gazette Airline of the Year – Leisure 2006 and 2007
- TravelWeekly Globe Travel Awards – Best Charter Airline 2009, 2010 and 2011
- World's greenest airline ITB Berlin travel show – The number 1 greenest airline 2011
Accidents and Incidents
- On 22 May 2002, a Boeing 757-200 (Registration G-MONC) suffered structural damage to the forward fuselage in the area of the nose landing gear during landing at Gibraltar Airport while operating a flight from Luton. The captain had used an incorrect landing technique, applying full nose-down elevator. This control input resulted in a high pitch-down rate at nosewheel touchdown, in exceedance of the design limits, before the aircraft's nosewheel had touched the ground. No fatalities occurred.
- On 17 March 2006, the flight deck crew of a Boeing 757-200 (Registration G-MONE) lost visual contact with the runway after passing the Visual Decision Point (VDP) while attempting to land at Gibraltar Airport. During the subsequent go-around, the crew did not follow the correct missed approach procedures but air traffic control (ATC) provided effective heading control to avoid striking high ground. The lowest altitude of the aircraft when over land was 2,100 ft. (The highest point over land, just south of the airfield, is 1,420 ft.) Following the incident, ATC and Monarch Airlines changed their procedures to reduce the chances of repeating a similar occurrence.
Notes and Citations
- "contact us – press office." Monarch Airlines. Retrieved on 6 November 2010.
- Monarch Facts & Figures
- "UK Airline Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- The Sunday Times (Top Track 100 Deloitte, British private companies with the biggest sales), Times Newspapers Ltd, London, 20 June 2010
- Operating licence
- "World Airline Directory 1968". Flight International. March 1968.
- "The 40-year-old start-up – Monarch Airlines", Maslen, R. in Airliner World July 2008, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2008, p. 33
- http://www.ttglive.com/NArticleDetails.asp?aid=6831 Brown Eager to See Monarch Reigning, Travel Trade Gazette Archive issue, 16 February 2007
- "The 40-year-old start-up – Monarch Airlines", Maslen, R. in Airliner World July 2008, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2008, p. 32
- Flying the nation for 40 years! Were you one of our first passengers? Monarch Airlines, 3 March 2008
- "World Airline Directory 1969". Flight International. March 1969.
- Prudence Reigns at Monarch, Hales-Dutton, B. in Commercial, Air International February 2010, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2010, Vol. 78, Iss. 2, p. 45
- Monarch's First Jet, Air Transport, Flight International, 7 October 1971, p. 564
- Jet Monarch, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 2 December 1971, p. 890
- "World Airline Directory 1972". Flight International. March 1972.
- "World Airline Directory 1977". Flight International. March 1977.
- "RAF Britannia Fleet – XM496 Regulus". The Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Flight International, 17 October 1974, p. 515
- "Bristol Aeroplane Company – Bristol Type 175 Britannia". flightline. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "World Airline Directory 1975". Flight International. March 1975.
- "World Airline Directory 1976". Flight International. March 1976.
- "World Airline Directory 1981". Flight International. March 1981.
- "New operators for Boeing 737", Flight International, 18 October 1980, p. 1493
- Berlin Airport Company, April 1981 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1981
- Monarch Airlines – Our History
- "World Airline Directory 1983". Flight International. March 1983.
- "World Airline Directory 1989". Flight International. March 1989.
- Berlin Airport Company, November 1988 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1988
- "World Airline Directory 1990". Flight International. March 1990.
- Berlin Airport Company, November 1989 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1989
- "World Airline Directory 1992". Flight International. March 1992.
- "Prudence Reigns at Monarch", Hales-Dutton, B., Air International February 2010, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2010, Vol. 78, Iss. 2, p. 48
- "World Airline Directory 1994". Flight International. March 1994.
- "World Airline Directory 1995". Flight International. March 1995.
- Long-range workout, Monarch – long haul charters, A330-200 In-service Report, Flight International, 17–23 November 1999, p. 43
- "Long-range workout, Monarch – long haul charters", Flight International, 17–23 November 1999, p. 44
- "Long-range workout, Monarch long haul charters", Flight International, 17–23 November 1999, p. 45
- "World Airline Directory 1999". Flight International. March 1999.
- "Monarch Scheduled arrives at London Gatwick". 17 April 2003. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Flight News: New Monarch flights to Malaga". flightmapping.com. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Flight News: Monarch axes Malaga flights from Aberdeen". flightmapping.com. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "2008 News Archive – Flights – Monarch Scheduled launches new Birmingham base and adds Madrid and Almeria from Manchester". 15 December 2004. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Traffic Statistics Report 2005". Manchester Airport Plc. June 2006. pp. 11, 16.
- UK Airline Statistics 2002
- UK Airline Statistics 2008
- Monarch expects first 787 Dreamliner by 2011
- Prudence Reigns at Monarch, Hales-Dutton, B. in Commercial, Air International February 2010, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2010, Vol. 78, Iss. 2, p. 46
- Monarch cancels Dreamliner order
- "UK's Monarch Airlines cancels entire 787 order". Flightglobal. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Monarch's new slogan and website
- The Sunday Times (Business: Swiss billionaires bail out ailing Monarch – again), Times Newspapers Ltd, London, 30 October 2011
- "Business: Monarch's bright future with sunshine flights". Manchester Evening News. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "2011 News – Flights – Monarch launches a host of new flights in May!". 28 April 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "Monarch to increase fleet after cash injection from owners". TTG Digital. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- The Times (Business: Monarch makes a soft landing after £45m loss), Times Newspapers Ltd, London, 4 November 2011
- "Economies of Scale and Scope – 2 (Where do Scale Economies come from?, Indivisibilities and the Spreading of Fixed Costs". media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/... 17 March 2009. p. 45. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- New base At East Midlands
- Monarch Launch base at Leeds/Bradford
- Monarch Announce Order For Two Airbus A321's
- "Monarch Holdings Ltd"
- Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register
- Monarch – Aircraft and Regulations
- Monarch Airlines Annual Report 2013
- Monarch Airlines selects Boeing as preferred bidder for Fleet Replacement
- "Menu." Monarch Airlines Meals. Accessed 30 October 2008.
- "FAQs – Flights – Seating – Premium Cabin Information". Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Summer 2007 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality". FlightOnTime.info. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- "achievements / awards". monarch.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- Globe Travel Awards 2009
- Globe Travel Awards 2010
- Monarch Scoops award for best charter airline 2011
- "Travel – News & Advice: World's greenest airlines unveiled". The Independent. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Monarch Accident G-MONC
- Monarch Accident G-MONE
- British Independent Airlines since 1946, Volume 3 of 4. A.C. Merton Jones. Merseyside Aviation Society & LAAS. Liverpool, 1976. ISBN 0-902420-09-7.
- Berlin Airport Company – Monthly Timetable Booklets for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, April and October issues (German language edition only), 1981. West Berlin, Germany: Berlin Airport Company.
- "Flight International". Sutton, UK: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0015-3710. (various backdated issues relating to Monarch Airlines, 1968–2007)
- Simons, Graham M. (1993). The Spirit of Dan-Air. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises. ISBN 1-870384-20-2.
- Simons, Graham M. (1999). It was nice to fly with friends! The story of Air Europe. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises. ISBN 1-870384-69-5.
- Airliner World, July 2008. Stamford, UK: Key Publishing.
- "Air International, Vol. 78, Iss. 2, February 2010". Stamford, UK: Key Publishing. ISSN 0306-5634.
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