‘Too many aircraft chasing too few passengers’, warns Monarch boss

‘Too many aircraft chasing too few passengers’, warns Monarch boss

The new head of Monarch Airlines has echoed company chairman Iain Rawlinson in warning of “too many aircraft, chasing too few customers”.

Monarch Airlines managing director Andrew Swaffield (pictured) said yesterday: “It is a soft market with lots of capacity. There are too many aircraft chasing too few customers in Europe. It is a very commoditised market.”

But he insisted: “Monarch is holding its own. We are performing well in a poor market. We’re maintaining our share and, in many cases, growing.”

Swaffield joined Monarch at the start of April after almost eight years as head of the British Airways/IAG loyalty scheme Avios.

His comments echo those of Monarch chairman Iain Rawlinson in February when he told an Institute of Travel and Tourism dinner: “We have a weak market … Aviation is suffering weak yields and overcapacity and is fiercely competitive … We are the lowest margin region in the world.”

Monarch is still in talks to buy new aircraft, but Swaffield declined to confirm how many.

Rawlinson revealed last October that the carrier was negotiating to buy up to 60 aircraft and had to make a choice between manufacturers Boeing, Airbus or Bombardier.

Swaffield told Travel Weekly: “The discussions are ongoing. It’s an important decision and we’re taking great care. We are talking with Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier but we are not fixed on a number [of aircraft].”

He said an announcement is likely this summer.

Swaffield worked at BA for two decades and prior to that spent 10 years at Thomas Cook. He said: “I’ve been a travel agent and a tour operator and now run an airline, and it is all about customers.

“A customer focus is as relevant in a travel agency as in a tour operator or airline, and the quality of people is critical.”

Swaffield was speaking as Monarch Airlines announced it had been awarded the status of a WorldHost Recognised Business following the customer-service training of 1,690 staff.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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