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​Monarch's MRO arm upbeat on future despite collapse of airline

Monarch Aircraft Engineering remains confident in its business prospects following the demise of its sibling carrier.

As a standalone entity within Monarch Group, the MRO unit is not covered by the insolvency proceedings for Monarch Airlines and Monarch Tour Group.

"We are not as busy as we planned to be," Monarch Aircraft Engineering managing director Chris Dare acknowledged in an interview with FlightGlobal at the MRO Europe event in London on 4 October. Support for the 35-strong fleet of Monarch Airlines had represented around half of the maintenance provider's business.

However, Dare says that although back-office jobs are to be reviewed, there will be no redundancies among front-line technical staff, and the company's two base maintenance facilities in Birmingham and Luton will "definitely" continue to operate at their current size.

Monarch Aircraft Engineering employs around 730 people across its base and line maintenance stations.

Dare notes the MRO provider's "strong" cash balance, and that there is third-party demand for aircraft checks during winter. He describes shareholder Greybull Capital as "very supportive".

An agreement covering C-checks on Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 787-9s over the next four years was disclosed at the end of September. Dare says the deal was directly arranged with the airline, and that a partnership with Boeing's aftermarket support division will drive additional activity.

Icelandair has become a customer for base services, Dare notes. A contract to conduct a check on an Airbus A330 for Spanish carrier Evelop this winter was revealed in August.

Dare concedes, however, that Brexit has created further uncertainties for Monarch Aircraft Engineering. The potential impact of currency fluctuations is "a big unknown", while restrictions on movement of labour will be "a bit of problem", he says.

The ability to both recruit engineers from the EU and send staff to international stations is central to the business, he points out. Monarch Aircraft Engineering has line stations in France, Poland, Spain and non-EU member Ukraine.

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