Frankly I don't work for Monarch - but I'm with a leading regional airline (who also believe in giving people a full salary, uniform, employment contract etc from day one) but I wish Monarch and all their staff every success with their strategy and I hope that Monarch continue to thrive for as long as there is Jet A1 in the ground! There are too few companies like Monarch, BA,etc who believe in treating employees as people to be nurtured, supported and developed rather than as a liability to be exploited and quite honestly if people leave Easy flexycrew or Ryan etc in droves to go to Monarch I would say it's a very sane decision. From what I gather both Easy and Ryan will work you harder, pay you less, put you on a temporary contract, charge you for type rating and line training and spit you out at a moment's notice if it suits them.
If the exodus from the lo-co's were to develop into a genuine flood then I could see a time when the likes of Easy/Ryan wouldn't be able to get away with their exploitative schemes and that would be a very happy day for all of us.
I might also say that I don't loathe Easy the way I despise Ryanair, but I just don't admire their ethics with new recruits. Frankly I might have been tempted by Monarch myself but from the jet fleet in my company with high seniority, the base I want and a permanent contract that would be a difficult choice.
I beg to differ - those statistics tell everything. In 1996/7 we had 2 aircraft and Monarch had slightly less than they do today. We attacked the market place with clever marketing and cheap fares while companies like Monarch looked down their noses at us. The reason easyJet now has more aircraft is more people want to use them, depressing as that may be to you all. Even more depressing is the fact that Ryanair carry more passengers than we do - principally because they bought the right aircraft with 737-800s (189 seats) and we bought the wrong ones with A319s (156 seats) instead of A320s (180 seats). The fact that easyJet Gatwick (51 aircraft I believe) is substantially bigger than Monarch in total (32 aircraft) is that the people who run easyJet have been tough marketeers who have found a niche market and built aggressively upon it whilst stealing passengers from their legacy competitors. Therefore we now have 204 aircraft now instead of the 2 we started with just over 15 years ago. Monarch have rested on their laurels for years, kept an old fleet with varying mod states, flown multiple aircraft types and somehow thought it would all be all right in the end. That is not the fault of the pilots or the flight ops department but it is the fault of the people who run the company who fiddled while Rome burnt. To their great credit, Monarch are now coming out fighting, but what on earth were they thinking for the last 15 years? Just remember, these are the same people who are still running the company that all you think has a fantastic future - I genuinely hope you are right, but I would not bet my pay cheque upon it. There is much negative talk about easyJet management, but they are still talking of 'turning Europe orange'. You may not like it, but I do - I want to be part of a company where the management have vision and direction.
I have never, however, been embarrassed to say when easyJet management have been wrong, and they have most certainly been so over the cadet issue. The mere fact that cadets are desperate to go to Monarch, and feel delighted to be there, says that Monarch are doing something we are not - building a corporate culture that employees identify with and buy into. We have done that for our permanent staff but alienated our flexicrew pilots, despite countless warnings to our managers - that is something I deeply regret. The problem has been that when I and others speak to our managers, they tell me it is only old Training Captains like me who are bothered about the cadet situation and the cadets themselves think they are lucky people. I am told some of them even write emails to our CEO etc saying that they are happy with their lot! In a nutshell, they have failed to make their true feelings known - maybe for understandable fear of upsetting the apple cart. None of this is an attack on Monarch, a company that I wish nothing but good upon. It is, however, a statement that easyJet and Ryanair have wiped the floor in marketing terms with their competitors and that is reflected in the passenger statistics I have quoted and the load factors which I have not. If Monarch are at last waking up from their 15 year sleep walk into oblivion that is good news, but boy did they need to. All pilots want other pilots to succeed and have jobs. As I have said before, I would not advise my son to go to Monarch but I could be totally wrong. Many job decisions are actually emotionally driven. Something deep inside says your current employers are losers and you just need to be shot of them. Once that feeling has set in, it is almost impossible to have a rational conversation on the subject thereafter. Sadly, those cadets who have left us did so under the impression they were going to a 'proper' employer who would look after them and care for them - that is easyJet's loss and I can only regret that we failed to treat these guys better and give them proper contracts. I truly wish them well, but am yet to be persuaded that in the long term they have made the best move - time will tell if I was right or not, and I would be delighted to be proven wrong.
It tells you that easyJet have expanded massively and that's about it. What happens when they need to start replacing aircraft like Monarch are having to do? Did you decide to leave out the load factors because they tell a different story? Just out of interest I've just been on the easy website and got these:
Load Factor2 89.9% 88.3% 1.6pp The first figure is June 2012, second is June 2011 with the percentage increase.
These are Monarch's figures for the same month:
Passenger numbers (1) June 2012 626,185 June 2011 506,321
% change 24%
Load factor (2) June 2012 91.52% June 2011 87.81%
% change 3.7% pts.
As you can see - our load factor is 2% higher than easy's and we have a 24% increase in passenger figures, mainly due to better utilisation of aircraft. Monarch are making the right moves. As for passenger numbers as I said - Monarch have several long haul aircraft, the passengers may stay on for twice the length of time and pay twice the price for a ticket... so not really comparable - it's like saying Ford sold 1000 cars but Lamborghini sold 10 - but if a Lambo is 20 times as expensive and makes 100% more profit on each car - who is the real winner? You mention niches... Monarch have had their niche for a long time and easy haven't really stepped on that. The truth is airfare has become cheaper and easyJet has picked up the slack created by those lower airfares.
I'm not regretting moving at all - I earnt more this month than I did over 3 Winter months at easyJet, being a cadet at easy is the lowest of the low, I would have done anything for a permanent job on the same Ts and Cs as the other permanent guys but that will NEVER be forthcoming now at easy - can't you see that? No cadet from my era thinks themselves lucky - maybe the guys joining now who were aware of flexicrew before starting training are but then that's a different breed.
I was under the impression that Monarch treated their staff better and so far I have been proved right - so my impression was correct, if not exceeded.
Where were Monarch when you needed your first job two years ago?
I'm glad flexicadets are finding alternative jobs. Its a win for them, easyJet, CTC, some new guy, the trainers and Monarch. I don't really 'get' Monarchs new business plan but that's probably because I'm a bit thick and it hasn't been explained to me enough. No airline is 'safe' these days. Even the walls of the mighty Air France are starting to tremble..
I am told some of them even write emails to our CEO etc saying that they are happy with their lot!
That really does surprise me, not one flexi pilot I know would consider themselves particularly happy with their lot. Maybe happy to be scraping together loan repayment money most months and actually be flying rather than unemployed. But happy enough to be writing glowing letters to the CEO - Who are these crazy people?!
Ezy is indeed a very successful company but passenger figures as a comparative measure of success is just not credible. Also; "Past performance doesn't not guarantee future performance" or whatever the investment industry caveat emptor states. This is true of Monarch, and everyone else, too.
To those that join Monarch - welcome and I look forward to flying with you.
For those who have thrown their lot in with Ezy - I wish you all the best too...even the self righteous ones.
Two years ago I missed out on a Monarch interview because I was about 5 places too far down the CTC hold pool to be considered.
So when the likes of easyjet came along telling us that we'll (likely) be flying in excess of 750 hours a year and permanent UK jobs were in the negotiation process it did not seem too risky to go in as flexi-crew. At the time! Obviously things have changed significantly and looking back I think I made one of the worst decisions in my career. To which I now have to pay through my nose yet again to go. From what ever angle you look at it, CTC make so much money from a flexi-crew pilot it's shameful.
I'm praying that this next move is not something I'll regret this time next year. There were no other airlines recruiting at the time and no sign of them doing so in the future so it was a choice of going to an airline with crap T&C's but gaining experience, or going back to the office to do something I had no interest in doing and said office job would probably pay me no much more than what I would be expected to earn as a flexi-crew pilot. A very tough choice had to be made.
I've heard various rumours lately. This is a rumour network after all. Including the one CM is in early negotiations to leave and go to M&S. Ride the wave, get the share price as high as it will go, cash in and leave maybe? And permanent jobs on the continent will be almost non-existent next year so flexi-crew guys waiting for one maybe sorely disappointed.
Spoke to one other flexi-crew pilot recently who thought things will get better soon at eJ. I'm not so convinced. Another who frankly mocked me for making the decision to move.
Anyone aware if Monarch have now finished recruting ?
I hear all about the poor flexi-crew now getting a chance to move somewhere better, would it be fair to assume that Monarch will not be looking at the folk that have not paid for their ratings, fought to work and build a handful of hours on much smaller aircraft ? fair to say they will be forgotten in the wake of the flexi-crew cadets ?
Outiside CAS - I'm not sure where the recruitment dept are up to with this. Certainly non-TRd pilots are filtering through the system with some having been offered positions and others awaiting interviews in the next few weeks.
I'm sure someone said a while back that courses have been filled up until about April 13 so far. Can anyone confirm this?
Monarch have ceased recruiting according to the website - inundated no doubt. Meerkat - I have no angst towards Ezy at all. I just don't enjoy it as a passenger , having positioned numerous times in the past. If they just allocated a seat alot of the stress would evaporate.The crazy queues that form at the gate before it has even arrived......
I very much enjoyed going on flybe from LGW - NCL last year.Small plane allocated seat, enthusiastic staff.
As far as I'm aware, Monarch never re-opened the online recruitment after the initial rush and are working through the applications received still. Everyone I know who has had jobs / interviews didn't use the online system and I've yet to find someone who isn't still just "active application" on the online site.
I've also heard from someone at Monarch that courses up until April next year are being filled and there is an initial number of 90 FOs with some further on going recruitment planned after this - I can only assume that will be from the current pool of applicants.
Still interviewing, courses not filled upto April I doubt total number of courses even known yet by head shed. We have given places to type rated, military, turbo prop, CTC I am very pleased to confirm....
I do not understand why Monarch are expanding into a market that is saturated.
Ryan and easyjet are aggressive with costs and competitors.
The public do not differentiate between the likes of easy,Ryanair,monarch or anyone else in Europe on the basis of quality of service. The predominant factors in the decision to fly are cost and convenience. That is where Ryan and easyjet models vary slightly and where Monarch is going to struggle when they try to establish new aircraft on new routes.
HPbleed - easyJet are replacing aircraft right now. They have a pile of brand new A320s rolling up and are using them to seamlessly replace their early A319s whilst keeping the total numbers around 204-ish. I am not sure that comparing Ford and Lamborghini products easyJet and Monarch is quite the distinction I would make personally, but there you go! Regarding load factors, I did not quote them because of the summer-oriented operation that Monarch run. I could not initially find the figures beyond March which is why I quoted that month. Having searched deeper into their website here are the last few months:
----------Monarch easyJet Feb 12---87.17%----87.6% Mar 12---87.7%-----88.8% Apr 12----N/A-------89.3% May 12--81.92%----88.0% Jun 12---91.52%----89.9%
A very good set of results for both companies, and I would draw nothing from the 'better' figures of previous months that easyJet had. More revealing is that the passenger numbers for Monarch to achieve this steady 80-90% load factor is 626,185 in June but 179,215 in February. The equivalent easyJet figures were 5,434,763 and 3,976,741 respectively. In other words, Monarch hardly operate in the winter - which is a perfectly sound business plan for a bucket and spade company, but not one that easyJet could follow given their emphasis on non-leisure travel. The fascinating statistic is the 24% increase in passengers carried by Monarch compared with the previous year in June - at last they are starting to fight and indeed provide the opportunity to young pilots like yourself to escape the curse of orange living that has become so irksome. I have not the slightest doubt that you are enjoying it more than easyJet, and I can only regret we did not behave more sensibly in an attempt to keep good guys like yourself. Where we differ is whether or not the permanent contract issue can be won. I hugely regret that we did not fight it out this last round as we should have done. The fact is that we blew it, but we can still win it in the next year. I fully understand you and your colleagues need to sort out your immediate futures rather than wait for a change which may never happen - but I do believe it will if we man up for the fight. My issue is the long term future of the company, and only time will tell who was right and who was wrong - in my ideal world we would both be sat happy and delighted for a long time to come. Good luck to you and I hope it turns out to be all you hope it to be.
Sprinkles - I am really at a loss to see how you can think that turning up with 155 hours from CTC and then getting to fly an Airbus with easyJet is the worst career move you ever made. There are literally hundreds of young men and women who have shiny frozen ATPLs and would give their right arm to be in your position. It is a harsh reality that the saturation of the market with low-houred pilots has brought down terms and conditions. Most of your predecessors are guys who did instructor flying for £10/hour, air taxi work, turboprops, night freight etc before ever seeing the inside of a Boeing or an Airbus. You are incredibly fortunate to be able to now leave and get a job with Monarch, BA, Virgin, Cathay or Emirates - you are hardly in a bad position.
Last edited by Alexander de Meerkat; 28th Jul 2012 at 15:29.
Reason: Accidentally transposed figures!
"I fully understand you and your colleagues need to sort out your immediate futures rather than wait for a change which may never happen."
There is the issue. The noises coming from Hanger 89 are painting an incredibly gloomy picture. Many of us do voice our opinions regarding the long term future of FlexiCrew and we are genuinely concerned about it. Some of us have been told to stop making noises as it is proving unpopular in the Hanger among our leaders. Some of the guys reaching the end of their three years have been told by some managers they will be kept on, told by other managers they may not and told by CTC there's no agreement yet. BALPA believe any fight is an incredibly long one and there is unlikely to be a safe immediate future for easyJet contractors. European contracts have dried up, there will be trickles of movement but nothing on the scale of previous years. There are rumours of incredibly large numbers being laid off this winter (and that is only a rumour). Hours in the summer have reduced massively with many of us flying circa 50 per month in the summer, very few standbys and lots of rest days resulting in extremely low annual salaries (when compared with last year).
Now we are as much to blame as anybody so whilst we have been lead up the garden path, I am not looking for sympathy, indeed I feel guilty. If one compares that situation with the opportunity Monarch provide it isn a no-brainer as to where the better contract is. Stable salary, leave, loyalty, pension, insurances and being treat like a professional pilot.
AdM I will not disagree that easyJet may be a safer place to be should there be more issues to hit the airline industry. Only, though, if one has a permanent contract.
AdM you're right my choice of words were not really very good. In fact I am very grateful for the experience I have gained knowing not many people get to do it. Especially with my hours after training. Alas this has been at a huge financial cost to me and there's no denying I have paid to get where I am. I'm not not proud or happy to have done it this way as 4 years ago cadets were taking on through merit and given perm UK jobs with the TR costs paid for through being bonded to the airline. Not so anymore.
Unfortunately the only way to stop cadets doing this now is to stand together as a whole. Cadets need to realise what problems lie ahead for them going down the flexi-crew path (something which I think is becoming more evident as time ticks away). In some respects I think we've all allowed this down grade in T&C's and something drastic needs to be done to stop the rot any further. I don't know what that is though. The only winners have been CTC and eJ.
Only when cadets categorically refuse to go into flexi-crew that the light at the end of the tunnel will appear. Sadly I don't think any guys will because as you say we are so eager for the opportunity many of us fail to see the damage it causes.
Apologies once again for choice of words. I am bloody grateful for my past years service and I'm looking forward to moving up the salary scale.