New Monarch MD hails decision to expand Luton Airport

Andrew Swaffield has lauded planned expansions at the airport
Andrew Swaffield has lauded planned expansions at the airport

The new managing director of Monarch Airlines has welcomed the agreement to expand the airport, calling it “great news for Luton”.

On May 1 Communities Secretary Eric Pickles decided to green-light the expansion, which will take the airport’s capacity from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year

In one of his first interviews since starting in the post on April 1, Monarch MD Andrew Swaffield told Luton News that the sign-off would secure the long-term future of the airport and provide a boost to the town’s economy.

He said: “We are very supportive of the expansion, it is a great thing to see happen.

“As an airline we are happy to have such a long relationship with the town and a good one with the airport.

“The expansion should demonstrate the value of making a trip to Luton and it is great news for the town.

“It will make a big difference.”

As for Monarch’s future at the airport, Mr Swaffield said there is no intention to follow in the footsteps of easyJet, the UK’s largest airline.

He said: “We very different to easyJet and we are not trying to become a smaller version of them or Ryanair.

“We want to be set aside from the pack.

“Monarch is privately owned and small enough to be a bit different in that respect.”

Mr Swaffield was speaking after Monarch became the world’s first airline to be awarded ‘WorldHost Recognised Business’ status.

To gain the accolade 1,690 of Monarch Airlines staff– including cabin crew, pilots, engineers and office staff– have undertaken the intensive WorldHost customer service training programme, which was used to train up London 2012 volunteers.

The WorldHost programme also provided specialist guidance on creating an outstanding experience for customers with disabilities and welcoming customers from different cultures.

Mr Swaffield said: “It has been a big investment and it is really important to us to keep the customer at the core of what we do.

“Aviation can benefit from humanity and warmth so this fitted our vision.”