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Ski wars in the sky
Sunday August 17, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

Monarch Airlines is reported to be cutting costs, axing its charter business and squaring up against easyJet and Ryanair. It sees winter as a key target market and it could bring fares down.

Monarch might lose 1,000 jobs and reduce its fleet from 41 planes to 30 as part of the shake up.

It is expected to compete on the short-haul European routes and that means ones to the Alps and the Pyrenees in the winter months.

The airline already offers several routes to the snow in the ski season.

It avoids the main airports of Geneva, Zurich, Toulouse, Turin and Milan and concentrates on back-door routes to the mountains.

Grenoble, Gerona and Friedrichshafen.

The image below shows what it currently offers to the ski resorts.

Monarch mountain routesMonarch mountain routes












Monarch has made a concerted effort to attract skiers and snowboarders with a dedicated section on its web site.

It has been billing itself as the airline of skiers and snowboarders.

It allows boots to be carried in a separate bag, as long as they are in the weight allowance, and there are some offers for skis and snowboards to be taken with no additional charge.

We reported on its growing interest in the snowsports market in this earlier PlanetSKI article from 2012 when it began focusing on the winter market.

The changes have been widely reported in the financial sections of the press this week, though Monarch is remaining tight-lipped about the future.

"The company has previously stated that the new management team is conducting a strategic review of the group's businesses, including in relation to their operations, ownership and financing. That review is on-going and further announcements will be made upon its conclusion or as otherwise appropriate," said a statement from the airline on Monday.

It could though lead to cheaper fares in the winter months which will be widely welcomed by skiers and snowboarders.

As an example a Monach return flight from Gatwick to Friedrichshafen next February half term is £360.26. An easyJet flight from Gatwck to Innsbruck is £550.59.

Monarch Airlines has been exhibiting at the ski and snowboard shows in recent years. 

The image below comes from the 2012 Birmingham Ski Show where it had a stand.

Monarch standMonarch stand













It also sponsored the Big Air ramp in its efforts to gain exposure and publicity.

Monarch supportMonarch support













It has also supported the ex-British alpine racer, Chemmy Alcott, to promote its services.

Alcott and airlineAlcott and airline












It seems the airline is keen to increase its competition with easyJet and Ryanair on the winter routes to the mountains.

For further details of the changes then see this story on the business pages of the BBC.

For the spirit of the mountains

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