Thomas Cook airport slots bought by EasyJet and Jet2

Posted by on March 13, 2017
EasyJet planeImage copyrightGetty Images

EasyJet and Jet2.com have bought all of the take-off and landing slots owned by collapsed travel firm Thomas Cook in UK airports.

The slots at London Gatwick and Bristol were bought by EasyJet for £36m, the government's liquidation service said.

Jet2.com has bought slots at Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted airports for an undisclosed amount.

Thomas Cook's UK business and airline entered insolvency in September, when a court appointed an official receiver.

EasyJet bought 12 summer take-off and landing slots, called pairs, at Gatwick and eight winter slot pairs.

It also bought six summer slot pairs and one winter slot pair at Bristol.

The slots will expand the airline's presence at each airport.

Gatwick says it is working with EasyJet to try out new ways to board passengers at the London airport.

These include boarding people in window seats first, starting at the back, followed by middle then aisle seats.

High demand

Gatwick said different boarding methods could reduce the journey from airport gate to seat by about 10%.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Thomas Cook's collapse left holidaymakers stranded across Europe

Take-off and landing slots can be highly sought after by carriers, as a lack of new runways in the UK has kept their supply low. In 2016, Oman Air paid $75m (£59m) for a single pair of slots at London Heathrow, according to The Times.

Last month, the receiver sold all 555 Thomas Cook retail outlets to Hays Travel, saving up to 2,500 jobs.

The independent travel agent said the move gave it shops in areas where it had little or no presence, including Scotland and Wales.

Thomas Cook's Condor airline in Germany was rescued with the help of a loan from the German government.

Its Nordic business was bought last month by Norwegian billionaire Petter Stordalen and private equity firms Altor and TDR Capital.

Stordalen's Strawberry group and Altor took a 40% stake, with TDR Capital buying the remaining 20%.

The deal for Thomas Cook Northern Europe saved 2,300 jobs.

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