UK charter and scheduled carrier Monarch Airlines has emerged as one of the airlines facing the longest delays in delivery of its ordered Boeing 787s.

The London Luton-based operator has six Rolls-Royce-powered 787-8s on order for delivery from late 2010 with four options, primarily as an Airbus A300-600 replacement.

But addressing Commercial Aviation's Inside Air Finance conference in London this week, Monarch managing director Tim Jeans said: "We are in the worst part of the 787 delays. We are being told spring 2013 at best. The 787 was supposed to relieve the situation with the A300, which are not as reliable as we would like.

"Just about everything has gone on to the back-burner. We have stood down the project team - just keeping a watching brief. And we won't revisit the financing for 12-18 months."

Monarch is also looking for four to six Airbus A330s or Boeing 767s for the immediate future and is now exploring the possibilities for addressing that requirement and filling the gap left by the 787 delay.

Jeans says: "A330s are like hens' teeth unless there are failures. There is no glut. The options are pretty limited. There is very little cascade of 767s and A330s from airlines. So for airlines like Monarch that will take a mix of new-build and used aircraft. It is not easy."

He says Monarch will look to make a decision about filling the 787 gap in the last quarter of this year, and is sceptical about whether Boeing's moves to increase 767 output could be a solution.

"It's interesting but I think we will be well down the list of Boeing's priorities for people to get those," he says.

He is also interested in the possibility of securing new-build A330s as an interim solution if Airbus increases output.

Source: Flight International