Budget airline Ryanair is interested in buying up some airport slots belonging to embattled Thomas Cook's airline unit, it emerged today.
Thomas Cook plunged from profit to loss in 2018, leading it to consider selling off its successful airline division.
Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, was quoted this morning saying that if nobody else comes forward with an offer for the whole unit, the Dublin-based airline would be interested in snapping up some of its airport slots, however.
Jacobs told the Financial Times: “If it goes that way and it gets broken up, are we interested in slots at certain airports? We would be.”
His comments echo a recent announcement from the company that Ryanair was looking at “small M&A opportunities, growing out a small airline rather than buying something big”.
Thomas Cook is considering selling its airline business as part of a strategic review, as seasonal losses deepened to £60m for its first quarter, with the airline blaming customer uncertainty.
“We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus,” chief executive Peter Fankhauser said last week. “We will provide an update on this process in due course.”
On a call with media and analysts, Fankhauser said money from an airline sale would be spent on slashing Thomas Cook’s debt pile as the firm aims to focus on its hotel portfolio instead, as it prepares to open 20 new hotels this summer.
He also talked up the airline, saying it is a “very healthy business” and rejecting any comparisons to possible sales of struggling flyers like Germania and Flybe.