Monarch will place an order for 60 new aircraft this autumn to renew and expand its short-haul fleet.

The group will operate a mixed fleet of 39 aircraft by the end of this year and lease any additional aircraft to maintain “modest” expansion.

The order, to be placed at the end of September, will see it move to just two short-haul aircraft types.

Group finance director Robert Palmer said: “We have too many types of aircraft at the moment due to our charter heritage.”

The airline will chose between Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier in selecting the aircraft and between new and existing aircraft types.

Palmer said: “We have a choice of existing and new technology [aircraft] which have significant advantages on operating costs.

“Our natural preference is for new technology. There is always a risk with old technology that it will become obsolete faster.

“But most of the new technology aircraft will not be available until 2018-19.”

He said: “We are also looking carefully at pricing. If everyone wants new aircraft, it presents an economic opportunity.”

The group is in the process of receiving revised bids from the manufacturers and hopes to see the first aircraft delivered from 2015, with the order extending to 2024.

Monarch also plans to order new long-haul aircraft next year, after cancelling an order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the start of its current turnaround plan.

Group executive chairman Iain Rawlinson said: “We will be putting out an RFP [request for proposal] on long haul next year.”
Rawlinson said three new appointments to the airline board, announced yesterday, form part of the transformation and expansion plans.

Former Tui Travel customer director Tim Williamson has joined the Monarch airline board as customer experience and marketing director.

New director of revenue and network development Maria Blasco formerly worked with the Lufthansa Group and Iberia, and director of commercial partnerships and business development Adrian Tighe joins from G4S.

Rawlinson said: “The appointments are significant. We are investing in developing the disciplines appropriate for a growing network operator with expansion plans.”

The aircraft order and expansion come despite Rawlinson insisting: “We are very cautious about the economic climate.”

He said: “At the moment the market is steady, but we are cautious for next year and expect to have to work hard to maintain the brand’s position.”