British Airways owner IAG has won its bid to secure prized take-off and landing slots at Gatwick Airport, following the collapse of scheduled low-cost carrier Monarch.
The deal, as reported by Press Association, has granted IAG the majority of the now-defunct carrier’s slots at Britain’s second busiest airport. It comes after Monarch won an appeal last Wednesday to have the rights to sell airport slots for next year, a court ruling which faced criticism by industry bodies such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
EasyJet, Wizz and Norwegian had also expressed their interest in acquiring the slots at the London airports, while sources report that travel firm Thomas Cook had also bid for the Gatwick slots.
Monarch abruptly ceased operations in early October, leaving over 110,000 passengers stranded overseas and 300,000 future bookings cancelled.
IAG low-cost expansion
The purchase of Monarch’s slots comes after IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said last month that the firm was hoping to secure additional slots to help boost its long-haul budget airline Level, which began operations in June.
IAG, which also owns British Airways, Vueling, and Aer Lingus, has set its eyes on the low-cost long-haul market as it looks to fend off fierce competition from the likes of Norwegian Air Shuttle.
The collapse of Monarch in October marks a noted reduction in competition at Gatwick, with the airline having carried around 5% of the airport’s total traffic.
Alongside Gatwick, Monarch’s runway slots at Luton Airport are also being auctioned off.
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