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22 September 2017, 14:28
The owner of Norwegian Air is understood to have entered the race to secure a tie-up with Luton's Monarch Airlines in an attempt to snatch a bigger slice of Britain's low-cost travel market.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has approached Monarch over a deal to buy all - or part - of the business as it looks to up the pressure on rivals easyJet and Ryanair.
It's after Monarch, owned by private equity firm Greybull Capital, has hired KPMG to investigate options for overhauling, or selling, its short-haul business with an eye to focusing on more lucrative long-haul routes.
Industry sources have told the Press Association:
"It is widely known that the UK is a key market for Norwegian where the airline is looking for opportunities to expand."
The Scandinavian airline, which carries 30 million passengers a year, has ordered 200 new aircraft to boost its fleet of 140.
It has also explored a long-haul flight deal with Ryanair, but talks between the airlines collapsed.
Monarch secured a £165m cash injection from Greybull in October last year, which allowed the low-cost carrier to renew its operating licence with the Civil Aviation Authority.
The British airline employs around 2,750 staff and flies to more than 40 destinations.
In a statement Monarch said: "In recent months we have undertaken, and continue to undertake, a comprehensive review of Monarch, designed to determine its optimal future shape, size and strategy.
"We are having regular discussions on a number of options with potential strategic partners and we will announce any material developments, if and when they happen."