Monarch airlines has launched eight new Italian routes to meet increasing demand for the destination from British travellers.

The airline revealed a long term growth strategy last June to expand its scheduled service to new leisure destinations across Europe.

The new flights include Manchester to Milan, Venice and Verona; Birmingham to Rome and Venice; London Gatwick to Milan and Venice; and London Luton to Rome.

Managing director Kevin George said: “Monarch Airlines is now firmly focused on expanding its scheduled network and we are delighted to be adding the new Italian routes to our extensive range of leisure destinations across Europe.”

To mark the new flights a host of Roman gladiators, Veronese opera singers and Venetian gondolas took over the runway at Gatwick Airport as part of a huge 1,000 square feet 3D artwork.

Most of the flights are already up and running but all will be in place by May 2.

For more on the new flights click here