UK leisure carrier Monarch Airlines is considering ordering the Bombardier CSeries as part of an expanded narrowbody refleeting programme that will now see aircraft arriving well into the next decade.
Monarch is considering aircraft utilising new engine technology as well as current-generation products, and has invited Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier to submit proposals.
“Five years ago we would have gone straight to Airbus and Boeing, but the CSeries is offering an attractive seat-mile cost, although smaller in size,” says Monarch financial director Robert Palmer.
“If we select Bombardier, we will still have to place a large order with Airbus or Boeing,” he adds.
The carrier favours the Boeing 737 Max 9 over the smaller Max 8, says Palmer, and has a similar preference for the A321neo over the baseline A320neo.
Palmer stresses that the carrier would prefer its new jets to be equipped with next-generation engines, but acknowledges keen pricing for end-of-the-line examples of current narrowbodies makes them an attractive option.
Monarch has also increased the size and scope of its request for proposals. It originally planned to acquire 45 aircraft between 2016 and 2021, but this has since risen to 62 units, with deliveries scheduled until 2024.
During the past year, Monarch added nine A320-family aircraft under operating lease contracts and returned two aircraft to lessors. In the first six months of this year, two A320s were leased from Aviation Capital Group, two A321s from CIT Leasing while one A320 joined from BOC Aviation. Palmer says the leases are for up to eight years.
Monarch plans to retire Boeing 757s and Airbus A300s over the next 18 months and is seeking leased narrowbodies as short-term replacements.
The group operates 39 widebody and narrowbody aircraft, according to Flightlgobal's Ascend Online database.