British Airways owner, IAG, announced that it had secured take-off and landing slots at the Gatwick airport that once belonged to Monarch.
IAG stated that the agreement would allow its airlines to offer more flights and new routes out of Gatwick. IAG admitted that the key benefiter was likely to be British Airways.
Commenting on the move, an IAG spokesperson stated that the slots would enable the airlines to “grow its presence at the airport and launch new destinations and add extra frequencies”.
IAG took over the slots that belonged to the collapsed airline, Monarch. Monarch went defunct in early October, leaving thousands of its customers stranded across the world.
Monarch’s passengers were later brought back by government rescue flights. Since then, the fate of Monarch’s slots has been hanging in the balance.
Monarch’s administrator, KPMG moved the courts to grant them the power to sell the slots, which they termed the company’s “most valuable asset”. They argued that the profits made from the sale would be used to pay back the airline’s debts.
Additionally, any remaining profit would be equally divided between the airline’s former investors.
The buzz surrounding the Gatwick slots had already reached great heights by the time the court’s verdict came through. Just last month, the CEO of IAG, Willie Walsh stated that he was interested in the Gatwick slots. He believed the position of the slots would help revive the company’s new long-haul budget airline, Level.
Last week, the courts passed their verdicts and granted KPMG’s appeal, thus allowing them to auction off the coveted slots.
Since then IAG has clarified that while the slots will be used by most of its aircrafts, they would be “primarily” used by British Airways.
Monarch’s take-off and landing slots of Luton Airport are next in line for the auctioneer’s block.