EasyJet, Jet2.com buy Thomas Cook’s UK airport slots3 min read

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EasyJet buy Thomas Cook’s take-off and landing slots at Gatwick for £36m in wake of travel giant’s demise – while Jet2 do same at Manchester Airport

  • EasyJet snapped up 27 pairs of slots, at Gatwick and Bristol Airports, for £36m
  • Jet2.com bought remaining slots at Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester Airports
  • However this was for an undisclosed amount, the Official Receiver said, today
  • It comes less than two months after Thomas Cook entered administration

Jet2.com and EasyJet have bought all of collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook’s landing slots at in the UK, the company’s liquidators have said.

EasyJet snapped up 27 pairs of slots, at Gatwick and Bristol Airports, for £36million.

Rival budget airline Jet2.com bought the remaining slots at Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester Airports, for an undisclosed amount, the Official Receiver said.

EasyJet said it will release more information later this month.

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Rival budget airline Jet2.com bought the remaining Thomas Cook (file image) slots at Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester Airports, for an undisclosed amount, the Official Receiver said

Rival budget airline Jet2.com bought the remaining Thomas Cook (file image) slots at Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester Airports, for an undisclosed amount, the Official Receiver said

‘This outcome has been facilitated by the collaborative approach of Thomas Cook’s commercial partners at UK airports and the support of both internal and external slot co-ordinators,’ the Official Receiver said.

What are airport slots?

Airport slots are the pre-arranged landing and takeoff time for a plane.

They are used to stop busy airstrips from getting overcrowded by keeping a consistent takeoff and landing time.

It is also used by air traffic control to stop passengers having to wait for too long on the runway – which stops them from getting annoyed.

It is expected an airline will stick to its located slot accordingly. 

It comes less than two months since Thomas Cook collapsed.

Administrators have since been trying to recoup as much money as possible from the business to help pay back its debts.

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Earlier this month, they sold off the Thomas Cook brand name to Chinese company Fosun for £11 million. 

Fosun, which owns Wolverhampton Wanderers and Club Med, will pay £11 million to use the Thomas Cook name and website, along with hotel brands Casa Cook and Cook’s Club.

Millions of well-heeled Chinese tourists now visit Europe, and Fosun is hoping to take a greater share of the market.

The deal is likely to see a digital-only travel agent emerge under the Thomas Cook brand, with the new owners hoping the 178-year-old business is still highly regarded by European travellers.

The Thomas Cook brand name will live on after the Chinese conglomerate Fosun snapped up the rights from liquidators earlier this month

The Thomas Cook brand name will live on after the Chinese conglomerate Fosun snapped up the rights from liquidators earlier this month

Fosun knows Thomas Cook well and fronted the ultimately doomed attempts to refinance the company’s debts prior to its collapse last month.

The group was scuppered at the last minute when a further £200 million of investment was demanded by Thomas Cook’s lenders, and requests for the British Government to step in with a separate loan, failed.

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The Insolvency Service is now in charge of what remains of Thomas Cook and, with specialists at AlixPartners and KPMG, is trying to sell off any remaining assets – although just the landing slots at Gatwick airport remain.

It is also understood rival travel business Tui attempted to buy the Thomas Cook brand name, with one source saying this was to ‘kill off’ the brand.

And in October, Sunderland-based Hays Travel paid £6 million to buy Thomas Cook’s 555 high street stores, promising to keep many of the jobs.

The collapse has caused politicians to call for changes.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom pledged to take action to help customers who face losing out on injury compensation claims.

‘Thomas Cook only took out insurance cover for the very largest personal injury claims,’ she said on Tuesday.

‘For agreed claims below this figure up to a high-aggregate amount, they decided to self-insure through a provision in their accounts.’

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