In more IAG news, following on from their launching of LEVEL at Paris Orly, they have acquired all of failed airline Monarch’s London Gatwick slots.
Monarch went bust earlier this year, after many years in the business; it was a huge loss to the UK aviation business, in a similar way to the larger failure of Air Berlin was to the German market around the same time.
Monarch had 7% of Gatwick slots, which equates to around 155 weekly slot pairs, or roughly 22 daily departures. That’s a lot of capacity.
However IAG doesn’t have long to make use of them – in the UK when slots are allocated they are done on an ’80/20′ or ‘use it or lose it’ basis. That means that if they don’t use them 80% of the time, they’re at risk of being handed back and re-allocated to other airlines.
In the short-term, it appears that British Airways don’t have many spare short-haul aircraft. I suspect there could well be an expansion of other IAG airlines like Iberia, Iberia Express, Vueling and Aer Lingus flying to Gatwick to keep the slots active.
In addition, new 787 delivered to British Airways at Heathrow are apparently freeing up 777 aircraft to be cascaded to Gatwick for further long-haul expansion there. In addition the first A32x NEO aircraft are due to be delivered to British Airways next year, again freeing up aircraft to be cascaded.
However overall, this has to be good news for British Airways at Gatwick, substantially expanding their presence there, so as to better compete with both easyJet and Virgin Atlantic.
Back in the 1990s, British Airways did have a substantial presence at Gatwick with the newly opened North Terminal – they branded it “the hub without the hubbub” and it was a good experience. With their recent move back to the South Terminal and new facilities perhaps we will see a return to that?