BA owner buys Monarch’s runway slots at Gatwick

Monarch was founded in 1967 but collapsed in October

BA owner IAG is buying the take-off and landing slots left vacant at Gatwick Airport by collapsed airline Monarch.

The deal will give IAG the winter and summer slots at Britain's second-busiest airport, the result of what is understood to have been a significant bid by the company.

The value of Monarch's slots at Gatwick and Luton are estimated to be worth in the region of £60m, the most valuable being at Gatwick.

Monarch's slots at Luton are also being auctioned off.

A spokesman for IAG said: "IAG can confirm that it is in the process of completing the acquisition of Monarch's slot portfolio at Gatwick.

"These slots will be used by the Group's airlines, primarily British Airways, enabling them to grow their presence at the airport and launch new destinations and add extra frequencies."

It is thought that IAG will use the slots to increase its presence in the long-haul budget market, in response to growing competition.

Blair Nimmo, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: "As well as representing an excellent recovery for creditors from one of Monarch Airline's significant assets, the clarity that this sale will bring is very positive for other stakeholders such as Gatwick Airport and its customers.

"Our continuing focus is now on MAL's Luton slots, as well as exploring potential rescue opportunities for MAL and its residual assets including its brand and associated licenses."

Administrators at KPMG had to win a legal battle to sell the slots, overturning a High Court ruling made earlier this month.

A number of airlines – including easyJet, Norwegian, Jet2 and Wizz Air – are understood to have been eyeing the slots since Monarch collapsed in October.

Monarch's collapse left 1,858 workers without jobs and around 8,60,000 people without flights, many of them needing to be rescued by government-chartered planes.

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