British Airways owner IAG is eyeing collapsed airline Monarch's Gatwick slots

Rebecca Smith
British Airways and EasyJet look keen to swoop for Monarch's take off and landing slots at Gatwick
British Airways and EasyJet look keen to swoop for Monarch's take off and landing slots at Gatwick (Source: Getty)

The boss of British Airways owner IAG has confirmed he's interested in pursuing Gatwick slots left by collapsed airline Monarch.

"With Monarch, I think everybody's interested in slots at Gatwick, and that would principally be our interest as well," Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, told Reuters today. "If we can get more slots at Gatwick, we'll certainly be looking for more."

Monarch ceased trading at the beginning of the month, necessitating a mass repatriation effort that the Civil Aviation Authority said would cost £60m.

Read more: Greybull admits that it sought to "limit our losses" on Monarch failure

The confirmation of IAG's interest in Monarch's slots comes after Norwegian Air boss Bjorn Kjos said yesterday his airline would also be interested, but "it depends on the price".

Kjos' airline has been making a low-cost, long-haul push with transatlantic flights. Last month, it kicked off direct flights from Gatwick to Singapore.

The circling for Monarch's slots comes after a turbulent few months for the aviation sector. Monarch's collapse followed Alitalia and Air Berlin entering administration. Air Berlin has been involved in asset talks with Lufthansa and EasyJet, with all flights to finish by the end of the month.

"What the whole combination does is it clearly means there will be less growth, less capacity going into the market, particularly through this winter, so from an industry point of view that's probably to be viewed as a positive," Walsh added.

Speaking at the CAPA global aviation summit, Walsh also said IAG's new long-haul, low-cost airline Level could operate from Heathrow in the future "if the price is right".

The carrier, which started flights in June, currently operates routes from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and Punta Cana.

In August, mobile pay was rolled out on the airline so passengers can browse and buy products on board from their personal devices.

Read more: British Airways owner IAG launches mobile pay on new airline Level

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