This Will Happen To Thomas Cook’s Airport Slots

The demise of Thomas Cook had opened up speculation on who will take the airline’s airport slots. However, there are now updates on what could happen to these allocations following the firm’s liquidation on 23 September.

Thomas Cook A330
Thomas Cook’s breakdown has left slots across airports open for other airlines to request for. Photo: Russell Lee via Wikimedia Commons

CH-Aviation reports that three groups have expressed their interest in taking on Thomas Cook’s previous slots at London Gatwick. International Airlines Group (IAG), Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air have all showed interest in using the openings for their operations.

All three of these organizations already operate at Gatwick Airport. However, the travel company’s unfortunate collapse has opened up opportunities for others. There are 23 daily slot pairs up for grabs, 15 of these for the summer and eight during the winter.

Eyes on the prize

IAG already has a significant hold on Gatwick’s flights due to British Airways’ presence at the airport. BA has 17.7% of Gatwick’s capacity but IAG may be wanting to use the slots for its other airlines.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic schedules various daily flights from the London airport, but its market share is only 1.7% of the hub’s capacity. The firm is keeping an eye on the sought after night-time flights for long-haul trips.

However, according to Bloomberg, Thomas Cook’s Manchester slots are more desired by Virgin. The airline has already made contact with officials to take over these slots at Manchester Airport.

Along with this, Wizz Air currently has a 1.2% share at Gatwick, a capacity that the Hungarian airline hopes to expand on.

“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,” the CEO of the Wizz Air, József Váradi said, as reported by CH-Aviation.

Wizz Air Airbus A320-232
Wizz Air is solely interested in taking on slots left behind by Thomas Cook. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Who will buy Condor?

While the fate of these slots is being evaluated by airlines, Condor is still looking for a new owner following Thomas Cook’s downfall. The German airline was owned by the former travel firm but it still continues to trade.

The carrier swiftly received a bridging loan from the government of Germany, totaling €380 million euros ($415 million). This injection has helped the outfit remain secure heading into the winter, but it will need a new owner to continue further.

Lufthansa previously expressed the possibility of acquiring Condor back in March. The German group was planning to use the purchase to expand its Eurowings fleet.

Similarly, US equity firm, Indigo Partners, were reported to be interested in purchasing Condor. The group already owns other carriers, with its most well known investment being Frontier Airlines. Indigo also own Chilean outfit, JetSmart, Mexican operation, Volaris and Hungary’s Wizz Air.

Condor Boeing 767-330
Condor is still struggling to find a new buyer despite interest from reputable aviation groups. Photo: Oliver Holzbauer via Flickr

What happens now?

Even though there has been significant interest, Indigo is not allowed to own a majority share in any European airline. For this reason, a well-planned proposal will have to be made before any action is taken. Therefore, Condor is still without a buyer, even after the fall of its previous owner.

Following 178 years of serving within the travel industry, the future of Thomas Cook’s previous holdings remain under uncertainty. Despite these doubts, there is confirmed intent for slots by airlines who already have a regional foothold.

Simple Flying will update on any progress that is made on these reports. What do you think will happen to the operations left behind after Thomas Cook’s collapse?