Monarch Airlines to ditch charter flights from 2015

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Monarch Airlines will end charter flights in the summer 2015 after a wide-ranging business review conducted by chief executive Andrew Swaffield concluded that the carrier should become a low-cost operator.

The Luton-based carrier says only 15% of its operations are now charter and these will be phased out next year because they are “incompatible with operating the efficient schedule that Monarch is planning for the future”.

The UK leisure carrier says a number of its charter routes may be retained and converted into scheduled flights, but did not disclose details of the destinations.

Customers who have booked flights through the Monarch Group’s tour operating businesses, Cosmos Holidays and Avro will be unaffected by the move, it says through a combination of seat allocations on Monarch’s scheduled services, group subsidiary First Aviation and third-party airlines. The Luton-based carrier said detailed agreements would be completed with these third party carriers in the coming months.

“Changes in our market convince us that there is now a real opportunity for a scheduled low cost carrier that knows how to work in the leisure travel sector,” said Swaffield, adding: “We hope to continue growing our relationships with our travel trade partners and meet many of their needs through our scheduled services in future.”

The carrier has already said it will close its East Midlands base as part of its transition to scheduled-only flying.