Monarch Airlines Targets Order for 60 Planes by February

Monarch Airlines Ltd. aims to conclude an order for 60 single-aisle jetliners by the end of February as the U.K. charter carrier seeks to transform itself into a discount operator along the lines of EasyJet Plc.

The airline is evaluating offers from Boeing Co., Airbus SAS and Bombardier Inc. for jets that would be delivered through 2024, Executive Chairman Iain Rawlinson said in a telephone interview. A Bombardier order would be coupled with a purchase of Airbus or Boeing jets, with the smaller CSeries used to focus on new routes and network development, he said.

Monarch currently operates a short-haul fleet consisting mainly of Airbus A320 and A321 planes and is looking at the re-engined Neo version for the pending order, as well as the corresponding Boeing 737. While other European short-haul carriers including EasyJet and Ryanair Holdings Plc are also expanding, they are less focused on growing their U.K. footprint and are also replacing aircraft, Rawlinson said.

“We think there was some over-capacity in the winter market,” he said. “Once we get into the summer of next year, we’re cautiously optimistic that we will see a slightly stronger and more disciplined market.”

The airline has sought to trim costs, mirroring the efficiency of low-cost peers. Efficiency programs drove savings of 52 million pounds ($85.4 million) in the 12 months to Oct. 31, the Luton, England-based carrier said. Revenue in fiscal 2013 grew 16 percent to 1.24 billion pounds, with Monarch airlines contributing 763 million pounds. All divisions were profitable excluding exceptional items, Monarch said.

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