Winter flights replace Monarch

Posted on 10 November 2017

With Monarch, one of the UK’s biggest airlines, now out of business, what does this mean for property owners and skiers in the Alps this year? 

This time last year Monarch airlines was advertising a special sale of 60,000 seats to ski resorts for the season. Britain’s fifth largest airline had 35 planes and was a major provider of cheap flights to European skiing destinations, particularly Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon. The company went bust last month with some 750,000 passengers already booked for the months ahead, many of them to ski resorts.

EasyJet lands at Grenoble Airport

Thankfully, many of the company’s 2,100 employees have already got work again with other airlines in the run-up to Christmas. For skiers and property buyers in the ski resorts of France and Switzerland, however, does this mean there will be a shortage of flights or a rise in price?

Over six million British people go skiing, with France being the number one choice of country.

France gets around 20 million ski visits from overseas each year, and Switzerland around 13 million, according to research by Swiss consultant Laurent Vanat. Over six million British people go skiing, with France being the number one choice of country. Monarch carried around a million passengers each winter so the loss of so many seats could be a problem.

The good news on capacity is that a host of other airlines have stepped in, both to save ski holidays and take over the routes. The ski companies Inghams and Crystal Ski both found alternative carriers straight away and other airlines have taken some of the scheduled routes. In addition, easyJet had already announced a new thrice-weekly Southampton to Geneva service for the winter.

Fares from £4.99 

Property buyers may also be worrying that one less operator will mean higher fares. However, the main reason Monarch went bust wasn’t because of low fares in Europe, but because it lost much of its more profitable North African business due to terrorist attacks there.

Ryanair has in fact been slashing fares this winter, putting a million seats on sale until February at £9.99. It was selling flights to Grenoble for just £4.99, and that’s including tax and airport charges, which is cheaper than your coffee and croissant while you wait to board.

We looked at prices between the UK and either Geneva or Grenoble on a Saturday in late January and found the following fares. Ryanair was charging £14.99 to Grenoble, with some flights at the same price coming back. EasyJet flights from Gatwick to Grenoble were available from just over £25 each way, but flights from Manchester to Geneva were even cheaper – from £22.49. British Airways was charging from £62 for an afternoon flight from Heathrow on that day, but slightly cheaper (from £43) coming back. Swissair was a little cheaper, from £38 going out and £32 coming home.

Thomas Cook has also increased the number of its flights this winter, with flights to Geneva from £51 and to Grenoble from £29.

That doesn’t look like it is cashing in on Monarch’s misery even though the closure of Monarch did send the stock price of rival airlines up.

So it should be full steam ahead for property buyers this winter. If you want to buy a home in the French Alps, download a guide from France Property Guide. It’s packed with advice on the buying process and property tips.


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