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Airlines Are Fighting Over Thomas Cook’s Slots

Airlines Are Fighting Over Thomas Cook’s Slots
Taylor Rains

Thomas Cook Airlines collapsed on September 23rd, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and vacations ruined. The airline’s bankruptcy shocked the industry, but its demise beckons one major question: what will happen to its assets during its liquidation?

A few industry competitors, International Airlines Group (IAG), Virgin Atlantic, and Wizz Air, are expressing interest in Thomas Cook’s coveted airport slots at London Gatwick International Airport. The airline had 23 daily slot pairs, 15 for summer and eight for winter, that are now available for purchase. The investment may prove to be a major steal.

IAG wholly owns British Airways, Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional, Sun Air, Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, BA CityFlyer, Level, and Vueling. Because British Airways already holds 17.7% of London Gatwick’s capacity, it is believed that IAG’s interest may be for one of its other airlines.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic only holds 1.7% of the airport’s capacity. The airline has various, regularly scheduled flights to and from Gatwick, but is keeping its eyes on the craved slots for long-haul night flights.

Hungarian low-cost airline, Wizz Air, only has 1.2% of the market at Gatwick and is looking at the slots as an opportunity to expand its operations. “We are not interested in the airline. We are not interested in other assets but we have an interest in the airport slots of Thomas Cook at Gatwick,” Wizz Air’s CEO said in a statement.

The serious interest in Gatwick’s slots is a major sigh of relief for the airport. Although Thomas Cook’s slots only accounted for 3.8% of passenger volume, their absence may have led to a significant loss in passenger traffic and subsequent revenue, as experienced in 2017 after the collapse of Monarch Airlines. IAG, Virgin Atlantic, and Wizz Air’s interest will hopefully lead to a quick sale and transfer of rights, allowing the new airline to start planning routes and selling tickets for the 2020 summer season.


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

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1 Comment

  1. kikap

    October 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    > Name airports after the cities or areas they serve. Eazy peazy and no one is offended.

    Los Angeles? I’m offended, I don’t believe in angels, Christianity is a hoax!111

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