UK-based scheduled leisure carrier Monarch Airlines is expanding its operations in the Midlands region of England with the launch of a new base at East Midlands Airport and also the growth of services from Birmingham Airport.
The move follows the announcement that International Airlines Group (which owns British Airways and Iberia) is shutting down East Midlands Airport-based Bmibaby, a low-cost subsidiary of BMI which IAG acquired from Lufthansa Group along with BMI and BMI Regional.
Bmibaby has consistently made heavy losses for several years and IAG deemed it unlikely that it would be able to sell the company.
Monarch Airlines, already a leading leisure carrier at Birmingham Airport, will introduce a new base at East Midlands Airport from late summer 2012 and launch new services to key leisure destinations across the Mediterranean, including Malaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca and Faro in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.
In addition, Monarch Airlines will expand its operations from Birmingham Airport by introducing additional frequencies on existing routes to Malaga, Alicante, Faro, Rome and Palma, plus the addition of new flights to Barcelona.
Birmingham Airport has been a base for Monarch since 2005 and the airline flies more than 875,000 passengers every year from there to more than 20 destinations across Europe.
“In light of recent industry changes, opportunities have opened up in the market,” remarked Kevin George, managing director of Monarch Airlines. “It has become clear that the Midlands will be under-served as a region in the future, and that there is a lack of quality carriers to serve customers travelling from the area.”
George continued: “As an airline with over 40 years heritage and a stronghold in the Midlands already, the expansion of our existing services from Birmingham and the launch of operations from East Midlands makes perfect sense for Monarch, and accelerates the strategy we announced last year to focus on the development of our scheduled operations into key leisure destinations across the Mediterranean, the Canaries and North Africa.”
Added George: “The further expansion of our services from the Midlands will provide even more customers in the Midlands with choice and flexibility and protects jobs at East Midlands Airport in the future.”