While many airlines believe there is little room for expansion in the mature European marketplace, Monarch sees development potential through exploiting "niche opportunities".

The UK carrier, which began its evolution from providing chartered holiday services into a scheduled airline ten years ago, believes many markets are "yet to be explored", and could be developed.

Speaking at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London on 19 September, Monarch's managing director, Kevin George, was guarded about the routes identified by the airline, but said they will soon be announced.

These will likely be short-haul destinations, with Monarch focused on developing its scheduled short-haul operations. George said these have now grown to account for 70% of the carrier's business, from 30% three years ago. Evidence of Monarch prioritising this aspect of its business over long-haul operations came when it cancelled an order for six Boeing 787s in August.

Offering further insight into where Monarch sees potential for developing its network, George added: "There are plenty of markets outside the traditional Spain, Portugal and Turkey where we can develop, and when we do we'll offer frequency."

To deal with competitors in these markets, George said Monarch would differentiate itself by offering a level of service they couldn't match. "We'll go by determining those markets we think we should go and explore, and not worry about where others are choosing to fly," he said.

Similarly, he is not worried about large low-cost carriers encroaching on Monarch's existing routes. "When Ryanair open a route they expand the market. We see little share loss to Ryanair. They attract a different segment that wouldn't suit the Monarch product," he added.

Source: Flight Daily News