MONARCH Airlines is finalising plans to grow the number of routes from Yorkshire after celebrating its first anniversary of flights in the region.
Executive chairman Iain Rawlinson said the company would focus on further ski destinations and more routes to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands in the future. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post during a visit to Leeds Bradford Airport, he said he was “extremely pleased” with the airline’s performance in its first year at the airport.
“We have flown about 250,000 passengers in our first year of operations,” he said. “It has provided a solid base from which to start so we are extremely pleased with the results of our first year’s flying from here.”
Leeds Bradford became Monarch’s sixth base in December last year, adding to existing bases at Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Gatwick and its headquarters at Luton.
It flies to 11 destinations in the summer from Leeds Bradford, including Lanzarote, Antalya, Barcelona, Bodrum, Dalaman, Faro, Heraklion, Larnaca, Menorca and Tenerife. In the winter it flies to ski resorts Grenoble and Munich.
Mr Rawlinson said: “Over time there will be plans to grow the routes from Leeds Bradford. The plans are being finalised. Over time we want to service our core short-medium haul network in line with where the passenger constituency here wants to fly. We want to do more skiing in the winter but also fill in some of our more traditional destinations around the Med and the Canaries.”
He added: “It’s a medium growth story where we would expect to make important expansion from here.”
Mr Rawlinson said Monarch had no plans to expand into Yorkshire’s other airports.
“Leeds Bradford for us is an important part of our six bases network in the UK. Over 70 per cent of the UK’s population lives in just over an hour’s drive from one of our bases,” he said. “We are focusing all our attention on Leeds Bradford and do it very well.”
The airline flies its most modern planes from Leeds Bradford - two Airbus A320s.
“It’s a sign of our support for Leeds Bradford.” Mr Rawlinson said.