The decline of Monarch Airlines is a sad but inevitable consequence of a tough market but when you live on an island that relies almost exclusively on flight connections then this type of news is felt a little more sharply.
Monarch were a good choice for those wanting a cheap option however their late slots meant that flying on their aircraft was usually a lively affair. The 11pm departures from Gatwick and Manchester were particularly special with the weekend party brigade although unlike other airlines the experienced MON staff were usually good at diffusing over exuberant situations.
Unfortunately Monarch got dragged into a price war with the the other major flight-only players which meant that even though they were carrying more people their revenues were getting lower. Throw in a Brexit-inspired exchange rate crash and a security crisis is the eastern Mediterranean and for Monarch the worlds obsession with cheap flights wasn’t sustainable especially when costs were going up and income going down.
Monarch, like many before them, suffered from not adapting to a rapidly changing market. They were stuck between traditional tour operator and low cost flights provider and weren’t differentiating themselves particularly well. This could be said of other similar big names and following on from the demise of Alitalia and Air Berlin they won’t be the last airline to cease trading in the near future.
TUI and Thomas Cook, the big international tour operators, will be looking over their shoulders in 2018 as the ever changing market shifts yet again. They are stuck with a rigid and antiquated business model that doesn’t allow flexibility so any major change could have a big bearing on their future.
Spain’s biggest flight operator Ryanair will continue their dominance of the flight only market although they have also had a major blip recently with the cancellation of thousands of flights due to ‘staff shortages’. In a fickle market this could have been seen as Michael O’Leary’s ‘Gerald Ratner Moment’ of treating his loyal customer base with utter contempt however after the demise of Monarch and the big money involved in running an international airline it could now be viewed as good housekeeping.
2017 saw more flights than ever coming into the White Isle and 2018 should continue in the same vein but as Monarch has shown there may be some more surprises ahead.The effect on Ibiza and the other Balearic Islands will be less flight options which may drive prices up in the short term but this should settle down as the market adjusts accordingly.
Adiós Monarch, it was an interesting journey.