Monarch Airlines

1946 - 1950

Monarch, based in Denver, started scheduled air service on November 27, 1946 with a flight from Denver to Durango, Colorado using a DC3. It was formed by F.W. Bonfils of the DENVER POST family and Ray M. Wilson, who operated a Denver flying school. Other services started to Albuquerque, Salt Lake City and Grand Junction.

Monarch pioneered all weather operations in their service area by installing its own navigational system. By 1948 the airline was sharing several functions with Challenger Airlines such as maintenance and sales at Denver. Then Monarch bought controlling interest in Challenger in December, 1949. The CAB approved the merger with Arizona Airways on April 10, 1950 which took effect June 1, 1950.

Monarch merged with Arizona Airways and Challenger Airlines on June 1, 1950 to form Frontier Airlines. Monarch's President, Hal S. Darr, became President of the new airline. Ray Wilson became V.P. Operations and Maintenance of the new company and Monarch's Treasurer, C.A. Myhre, became Executive Vice President and later President of Frontier.

Monarch had five DC3s at the merger: NC64421, NC64422, NC64423, NC64424, and NC66610. They became Frontier Sunliners Arizona, New Mexico, Royal Gorge, Mesa Verde and Utah.


This is the only known photo of the three airlines' aircraft.

Monarch DC3 sitting on ramp.
Smaller pic of DC3
Another DC3
Sketch of a DC3
by Leroy A. Skidmore
AT-6 trainer
This North American AT-6 was used for captain route qualification purposes.
It was used when I first came with Monarch Air Lines in 1948.
Soon as Capt. Aden found out that I was an AT-6 flight instructor during WWII,
he assigned me to go on the qualification missions with the captains
...(in the back seat, of course) since that is where the flight instructors sat.
This picture was taken by Charlie Wunder who was the official Monarch Air Lines photographer
as well as the Aerial Photographer for the Denver Post Newspaper.
The photo was taken from a DC3 and was taken
between Saguache and Tomichi Dome approaching Gunnison Colorado.
-Ace Avakian, MON/FL pilot 1948-1986


Ad with fares, phone numbers, and route map from November, 1947.
Route map of 1946
Stock certificate from 1946
A baggage label
The same label
formatted for use as wallpaper
Nov 1948 timetable
from November 1948


History of Monarch in a booklet: Large file in a .pdf format
Ray Wilson: Co-Founder and first President of Monarch, Nov. 1946 til Mar. 1947
Hal S. Darr: President of Monarch from Mar. 1947 until the merger with Arizona Airways
and Challengers Airlines June 1, 1950 to form Frontier Airlines. Darr became the first President of Frontier.
Notes on Monarch: Trivia and miscellany
Monarch stories: From some former Monarch employees
Monarch pilot wings: Converted into a tieclasp
Monarch flight crews:At DRO in Feb 1947
Monarch flight crews:Another Feb 1947 view
Monarch ticket counter at ABQ in 1947:Sent by Jack Weiss
Monarch stewards:A group of stewards in 1949 - Monarch did not have stewardesses
The final CAB approval dated May 15, 1950

Old Frontier Airlines Website
Thanks to Craig Hansen for his graphic work which includes the nameplate and the DC-3 header.