Enthusiasts' Day aircraft
Toby Hillier, organiser for our Monarch Aviation Enthusiasts’ Days, takes us through his experience of our latest trip.

“The third in our series of Enthusiasts’ Days was a truly special experience. A group of keen aviation buffs and Monarch team members were privileged to be the first visitors welcomed to the Airbus A350 wing plant in Broughton for an exclusive peek behind the scenes, an unforgettable day.

“The day started with a flight aboard a Monarch Airlines Airbus A321 at Manchester for a short flight to Chester. The Captain and First Officer treated passengers to a slow and circular approach to the airfield at Chester, allowing passengers on both sides to get a great view of the airport before we landed.

“In the Airbus conference suite, we were given a presentation about Airbus in the UK and had the opportunity to ask about the future of Airbus products, including the A320neo project. It was then that we were let loose in the factories. Escorted in small groups by Airbus apprentices, we were given a first hand look at the build procedures for the Airbus A320 family, Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 wings.

“We were fortunate enough to be the very first visitors to the huge A350 wing plant, the largest building in the UK. It was amazing to see the huge jigs that hold the wings in place while they are being worked on, and the rotating jigs that can turn the wings from horizontal to vertical to make them easier, and safer to work on. The East Factory, which houses the A320/A330 wing production, was first opened in 1939, and it is difficult to comprehend that a factory that was used to manufacturer aircraft for the war effort is now used for some of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the skies today! The Monarch pilots and cabin crew that came along for the tours offered the Airbus team an insight in to how they find operating Airbus equipment, and Airbus were also keen to hear about some of the more diverse ad-hoc flights we use their aircraft for.


“The flight back to Manchester featured a “who’s who” of Premier League football clubs as we flew over Liverpool & Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City as we approached Manchester. As we disembarked the aircraft, visitors got another chance to visit the flight deck and photograph the aircraft from the ramp. In the Monarch Aircraft Engineering hangar, we were given unparalleled access to commercial airliners, being allowed to nose about in undercarriage bays, look at some of the under floor wiring, investigate APUs and sit on an A320 flightdeck. There were also plenty of photo opportunities and lots of posing in front of aircraft engines! Tours were conducted by Monarch Aircraft Engineering apprentices who’d joined us on the trip to Chester, and amongst the awestruck visitors were some of the Airbus apprentices who were buzzing at being able to walk around the aircraft that they contribute toward building.

Enthusiasts' Day bus

“Our third enthusiast event has been a fantastic success, not just for Monarch Airlines, but also for Airbus and for Monarch Aircraft Engineering. All of the ground staff, flight crew, engineers and apprentices enjoyed playing host for the day, as well as seeing some new and exciting parts of the aviation sector as well. A big thank you to everyone involved for their contribution to an unforgettable day for our aviation enthusiast friends.”

Would you like to attend the next Monarch Aviation Enthusiasts’ Day? Tell us what you’d like to see and do in the comments below – your feedback helps make this happen!


    • Hi Nick, we don’t have a date for the next one yet but we’re working on it. We’ll make an announcement when it’s ready. In the meantime you can join a mailing list we’re setting up to inform keen enthusiasts about the next one when we’re ready to promote it – just send an email to enthusiastdays@monarch.co.uk.

  1. Hello!
    I remember writing to your airline when I was about 12 or so (27 now!)
    I’m really glad Monarch are still going strong.
    As with many others, I’d like to go on the next enthusiast day you offer as well.

    incidentally… can you advise me of the best /guaranteed/ way of flying on one of your A300’s before they’re retired? 🙂

  2. I would love to go on the next enthusiasts day! I love aircraft and want to become cabin crew (still applying and waiting). I think the next day should be take offs and landings like pilot training but with passengers although I reckon that would be too expensive. Robin Hood Airport would be a great location for this. Whatever you decide I’ll be coming.

    How do I find out when the next day is? 🙂

  3. I would love to get involved with one of these days. I was just reading about your first trip to Gibraltar, as I’m planning a short trip there soon. My closest airport is Birmingham, so a day from there would be fantastic. An international flight aould be amazing, but failing that, perhaps the Highlands would be something to see. Either way, I’m pretty keen, so count me in for the next one!

    • Hi Neil, don’t worry we’ll post an article on our blog and other social media next time there’s an Enthusiasts’ Day planned so you won’t miss out on this information. I’ve passed on your thoughts to the organisers too.

  4. This was a fantastic day from start to finish! I’m based in Sussex so it was a bit further to go but worth every penny! It was an amazing experience to see the Airbus factory at Chester, and meet the apprentices who were all really helpful and knowledgeable. Also really enjoyed my second tour of the Monarch hangar at Manchester – huge thank you to Toby, our Monarch flight crew and the team at Airbus who helped make it such an enjoyable and memorable day 🙂

  5. Would love to have done that but it was from Manchester. If you could run the same thing from London would be great and definately go. Also airport tours would be ideal. Behind the scenes and ATC if possible. Let me know when the next one will be.

    • Hi Mark, thanks for your post. I’ve passed on your message to the organisers, who are using feedback to plan our next Enthusiasts’ Day adventures. Hopefully our next event will work for you. We’ll announce it here on the blog, on Facebook and on our website, so keep your eyes peeled. Thanks!

  6. Had an absolutely brilliant day! An absolute triumph and great way to spend a sunny Friday. I’d like to say a big thank-you toour guide Toby, Monarch, Airbus, MAEL and everyone else who made the day possible and giving us such an amazing day out!

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