Our History

The 1960s

  • The tour operator (then named Cosmos) was born
  • Aircraft Engineering was founded in March 1967 and entered jet maintenance. A hangar facility was opened at Luton Airport.
  • Monarch Airlines’ first commercial flight was on 5 April 1968, a charter flight from Luton to Madrid on a Bristol 175 Britannia 300 . The airline's initial fleet comprised of two Bristol Britannia aircraft.
  • In 1969, after the acquisition of additional Britannias, bringing the fleet to six, Monarch carried 250,000 passengers.


The 1970s

  • Monarch entered the jet age in 1971 when three Boeing 720Bs joined the fleet. The airline's first commercial jet service took to the air on 13 December 1971.
  • In 1972, the airline carried 500,000 passengers in one year for the first time.
  • By 1976, Monarch had transitioned to an all-jet fleet following the sale of the airline's last Britannia aircraft.
  • In 1979 Airline Engineering changed its name to Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL) and opened line maintenance facility at Manchester Airport.
  • The tour operator added flights from Manchester and Birmingham with an increased range of destinations.

The 1980s

  • At the end of 1980, Monarch Airlines took delivery of its first new jet aircraft, two Boeing 737-200 Advanced.  The addition of the 737s grew Monarch's fleet to 11 jet aircraft.
  • In 1981, new maintenance line stations were opened at Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester and Berlin Tegel. This was the first time Monarch Airlines carried a million passengers in a single year.
  • 1981 was also the year a line maintenance facility was opened at Gatwick by MAEL and Monarch became the first charter airline to order the Boeing 757-200. It entered service in the spring of 1983.
  • In spring 1985, the CAA awarded Monarch Airlines licences to begin scheduled services to Málaga, Minorca and Tenerife and the airline launched its first-ever scheduled service from Luton to Minorca on 5 July 1986 – it was named Crown Service.
  • In 1986 Monarch took delivery of its first Boeing 737-300 aircraft.
  • 1988 the airline carried more than two million sector passengers and opened a hangar facility at Luton airport.
  • The tour operator became the first mainstream company to introduce all-inclusive European holidays.

The 1990s

  • In 1990, Monarch introduced the Airbus A300-600R, its first wide-bodied aircraft into the fleet and in 1993 the first Airbus A320 arrived.
  • In 1991 MAEL opened a line maintenance facility at Birmingham Airport.
  • Following the arrival of A330 aircraft in 1999, Monarch started long-haul flying, another first for the airline.

2000 - 2010

  • In 2000 MAEL opened a hangar facility at Manchester airport and in 2001 MAEL started expansion into Europe.
  • The DC-10 was retired from service in 2002.
  • In 2003, Monarch opened a new base at Gatwick Airport with services to Alicante, Faro and Málaga and MAEL opened line maintenance facilities in Spain and the Canaries.
  • This was soon followed by the opening of a base at Birmingham airport in 2005.
  • Flights from Manchester also started during this year and Monarch became the airport's second-largest passenger airline.

2011 - 2017

  • From 2010- 2015 many new routes started including Croatia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy Spain and Portugal.
  • In December 2012, a new base opened at Leeds Bradford Airport. 
  • Monarch Airlines offered capacity for eight million passengers in 2012/13 and strengthened its scheduled services.
  • In 2013 Monarch Aircraft Engineering opened a Training Academy at Luton Airport, secured maintenance approvals on Boeing 737NG, Bombardier Q400 and Embraer E-Jet series and adds Boeing 787 Dreamliner training capability.
  • A new state-of-the-art hangar facility is opened at Birmingham Airport.
  • In July 2013 the Monarch Foundation was established – the cornerstone of Monarch’s corporate responsibility programme.
  • In October 2013, the Group announced the roll-out of the Olympics-inspired ‘WorldHost’ customer service training programme.  Monarch was the first European airline to do this.
  • In 2014 the airline named Boeing as preferred supplier for new narrow body fleet and Monarch confirmed the order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with an option for a further 15. The first is due for delivery in the spring of 2018.
  • On 24th October following a restructure of the Group, Monarch was acquired by Greybull Capital LLP
  • In 2015 the Group consolidated all travel brands under Monarch name, operated its last charter flight and ended long haul flying
  • 2015 saw the start of strengthening and reorganising the European network transforming the company into a modern, low cost scheduled European leisure airline group.
  • In October 2016 Monarch announced the biggest investment in its 48 year history, a £165 million investment from its majority shareholder, Greybull Capital. 
  • In 2016 Monarch was voted the world’s most punctual low cost carrier in OAG’s Punctuality League 2016 and was appointed a Gold Trusted Service award by Feefo, the independent trusted ratings and reviews platform, in February 2017.  
  • In May 2017 the airline was voted as a winner in the ‘Regional & Low Cost Airlines’  category based on customer reviews on Trip Advisor over the last year.
  • At the Paris Air Show in June 2017, Monarch confirmed the additional 15 Boeing 737 Max8 aircraft, announced a joint venture partnership with Boeing and Boeing's Global Fleet Care for its entire 737 MAX fleet.