Monarch to reduce its fleet to only 34 aircrafts

Monarch Airlines Airbus A320-200
Monarch Airlines Airbus A320-200 (GFDL CC M.J. Galloway)

The board of Monarch Holdings Limited has announced the completion of its strategic review and restructuring programme under which it has secured £125 million of permanent capital and liquidity facilities provided by Greybull Capital LLP anchored by a £50 million capital commitment, with contributions from the Group’s prior shareholders, principally the Mantegazza family. Greybull also acquired 90% ownership interest in Monarch, with the remaining 10% passing to the Group’s defined pension scheme and ultimately the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The Civil Aviation Authority has renewed the Group’s ATOL licence.

Greybull is a family office that manages investments in private companies across a diversified range of industry sectors. Greybull will provide significant capital to Monarch in order to grow the Group and build on its long-established heritage and trusted brand name.

Under the leadership of new Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield, Monarch has undertaken a comprehensive strategic review of all areas of the business, from operations to ownership and financing. The aim of the review has been to create the optimum structure to realise the significant opportunity to build on Monarch’s respected brand and distinctive offer to its customers in the European scheduled leisure carrier market.

The main outcomes of Monarch’s strategic review and restructuring, which have led to the successful transaction with Greybull, are:

• Optimise fleet from 42 to 34 aircraft, and revised agreements with lessors to either mark-to-market or early return of 10 aircraft from the current fleet

• Securing a new Boeing fleet order for 30 737 MAX 8 aircraft with deliveries from 2018 to 2020, providing a cost-effective and uniform fleet by late 2020

• Both long-haul and charter flying to end by April 2015

• Airline network to specialise on Monarch’s ‘heartland’ of scheduled short-haul European leisure routes, with increased average frequencies, aircraft utilisation, productivity and profitability

Focus on five UK airport bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Leeds-Bradford – and closure of East Midlands from summer 2015

• Material concessions agreed with employees across the Group to enable the successful restructuring, including reductions in pay of up to 30%, with more than 90% of unionised staff voting to accept changes, and some 700 redundancies, two-thirds of which were voluntary

• Reduction of the Group’s operating cost base, in line with other low-cost carriers, and increased efficiencies across the business

• Resolution of the Group’s pension deficit through agreement with the Pensions Regulator, PPF and the Trustee of the Monarch Airlines Limited Retirement Benefits Plan which will result in the Plan being assessed for entry into the PPF. The PPF would then hold a 10% stake in the Group, in line with its principles in restructurings such as this. The Pensions Regulator has cleared the restructuring. The pension deficit as per the company’s balance sheet was previously £158 million and the current estimated shortfall to secure full benefits is around £660 million.

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