International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, is purchasing the London Gatwick airport slots from the administrator of the recently-bankrupt UK carrier Monarch Airlines.
British Airways, the largest airline in UK by the fleet size, is seen as the biggest beneficiary of the move as it allows expanding its presence at Gatwick. The new take-off and landing slots will allow adding new destinations and increasing frequencies as well as increasing IAG’s portfolio at Gatwick by 28%, the Independent estimates.
IAG does not disclose the value of the agreement. The price estimations in the British media vary between the guess that Gatwick slots cost no less than £50 million and the guess that Gatwick and Luton slots cost £60 million.
On November 22, Monarch Airlines won an appeal against a court decision that deprived the carrier of its rights over valuable airport slots. This allows the debt administrators to raise money for paying Monarch’s debts by transferring the slots at London’s airports to other airlines. Monarch is also auctioning off slots at London Luton airport.
Monarch Airlines went into administration on October 2, 2017. Under British aviation law, Monarch’s Air Operator’s Certificate was suspended and its fleet grounded immediately upon its 4 AM bankruptcy filing, leaving 110,000 holidaymakers in need of repatriation, a further 300,000 bookings canceled and its 2,100 employees out of work.
Besides British Airways, other major airlines under the IAG umbrella include Iberia (flag carrier of Spain), Vueling (Spanish LCC), and Aer Lingus (flag carrier of Ireland).
Source – AeroTime