Monarch Airlines will be one of the first UK airlines to take delivery of Boeing”s 787-8 Dreamliner, but it will have to wait ”for up to a year” after the promised delivery date.
It has six of the aircraft due between 2010 and 2013, but speaking to ABTN at a celebration of the airline”s 40th anniversary, managing director Tim Jeans confirmed the delay.
”We certainly would hope to have ours in service in 2011, so that is a delay of up to a year - and clearly that”s disappointing - but we understand the step-change in technology of this aircraft, so it should be worth the wait.”
Configuration is yet to be decided, but a Premium Economy class is assured and as specifications are finalised in the next two years ”a lot of product development work will go on,” said Jeans.
”In theory, you could have lie-flat beds, but there”s a limit to what the tour operator market will go to and we have to play to that market,” he said.
More than two thirds of Luton-based Monarch”s 31-strong fleet are Airbus aircraft, but Jeans said the 787 was chosen for its performance.
”It is able to depart from a short runway to a destination 11 hours away, such as the US out of Birmingham, or west coast of Canada and India out of Luton, which we can”t do now because of payload range.
”Travellers want to go point-to-point, and those are exciting new markets that with the 787 you have first-mover advantage with - we will be trailblazing some routes.”
Although Dubai is out of the question, Jeans said the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Asia are very much on the radar ” ”Unquestionably those will be in our portfolio in a few years.”
Monarch is now split 60/40 between scheduled and charter services, with more than 7m passengers a year, and despite being predominantly geared for the leisure market there is no small amount of corporate cross-over ” ”around 30% or 40% of our traffic can be business-related, even flying to Malaga,” said Jeans.