War has begun on who will take ownership of the now-defunct airline Thomas Cook’s airport slots. Both EasyJet and Jet2.com have purchased all of the take-off and landing slots owned by Thomas Cook at airports around the UK.
EasyJet has purchased 27 slots from London Gatwick and Bristol airports. This has cost EasyJet a whopping £36 million! This money has secured eight winter slot pairs and 12 summer slot pairs at London Gatwick, as well as eight winter slot pairs and 12 summer slot pairs at Bristol. This purchase was the first group of ex-Thomas Cook flight slots to be sold since the carrier collapsed. As such, EasyJet’s acquisition likely represents the cream of the crop in terms of Thomas Cook slots which best fit its current network.
International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) which own airlines such as British Airways, Vueling, Iberia and Aer Lingus was the main competition for these slots against EasyJet, but have lost the bid.
Jet2.com has purchased slots at three airports. In a statement, the airline said that it had purchased slots from Thomas Cook at Manchester Airport, London Stansted and Birmingham Airport. Around a third of Thomas Cook’s Manchester slots flew long-haul, Jet2 will not be following suit. It has already listed multiple new destinations for its summer and winter schedules to fly its customers around Europe.
Jet2’s CEO Steve Heapy has said:
“We have been adding more flights and aircraft, resulting in increased capacity, at each of these bases for many years. Today’s announcement is the latest demonstration of our commitment to providing holidaymakers with more choice and flexibility when it comes to flying to sun, city and ski destinations with our award-winning airline.”
Jet2 has not released how much it has spent on these additional slots, but will most likely be revealed along with its yearly financial statement.
Jet2 recently said that it had experienced an increase in customer demand due to the collapse of Thomas Cook. The increased interest has boosted its profits allowing it to operate these new and additional routes. But the airline has said that it remains cautious about the future. It said that amid Brexit uncertainties and a weakening of the pound, it is not sure how its customers will react.
Thomas Cook’s UK business and airline entered insolvency in September when a court-appointed an official receiver. Ever since multiple airlines have had to pick up the pieces and transport extra passengers across many routes. More information on the Thomas Cook collapse can be found here
Image © [email protected], Nicky Boogaard and Colin Brown