Consolidation is speeding up in the UK leisure market as charter carriers Flying Colours and Caledonian Airways merge to form a vertically integrated airline, JMC Airlines.

The creation of JMC Airlines follows the merger of parent companies, Thomas Cook and Carlson.

Over the next five years, JMC will invest about $320 million in the brand, half of which will be used for new aircraft. Four Boeing 757s will be leased to replace Caledonian's Lockheed L-1011 TriStars. An Airbus A300, leased to operate from Glasgow throughout the summer, will also be relinquished.

"The additional 757s will provide greater flexibility, reliability and an increase in utilisation that will offset the loss of the Tristars and A300 from our fleet," says JMC Airlines' managing director, Terry Soult.

Two new UK departure bases will be operational in time for Summer 2000, with an Airbus A320 based at both London/Luton and Stansted.

JMC Airlines claims to offer a new product. Pre-bookable seats at no extra cost, redesigned brochures, and the creation of a consumer panel, are among the actions JMC will implement.

"This is a fundamental change in the way the package holiday will be developed and marketed," says Simon Vincent, managing director, JMC Holidays.

Source: Airline Business