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‘Strategic review’ could end airline’s Yorkshire base

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A MAJOR airline is “reviewing” its Yorkshire base.

Monarch Airlines, which currently flies to 13 destinations from Leeds Bradford Airport, is conducting a “strategic review” of its business, and has already announced that it will stop flying from East Midlands Airport by the end of April next year.

The airline is closing its charter operations to focus on scheduled European flights, repositioning itself as a smaller rival to low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet.

While the company would not comment directly on Leeds Bradford yesterday, a spokesperson from the airport said: “Monarch is currently reviewing their base at Leeds Bradford.”

The announcement of airline’s arrival at Leeds Bradford, its sixth UK base, was met with great fanfare and the promise of 200 jobs in May 2012, and the first flights began in December that year.

Speaking on the first anniversary of flights from the airport, in December last year, Iain Rawlinson, Executive Chairman of Monarch, said the airport was an “important base” for the group and that it was working on plans to develop and strengthen the operations there. He told The Yorkshire Post:“We are focusing all our attention on Leeds Bradford and do it very well.”

In its first year it flew 250,000 passengers from the airport, and routes include Faro, Rome and Barcelona.

Last Monday the company announced it was undergoing a strategic review under the leadership of new Non-Executive Chairman Sir Roy McNulty and Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield, looking at operations, ownership and financing”.

A spokesperson for the Monarch Group said: “That review is on-going and further announcements will be made upon its conclusion or as otherwise appropriate.”

 

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