October 12, 2017 / 5:20 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Norwegian Air CEO interested in collapsed Monarch's airport slots

(Adds comments on Monarch, Argentina)

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle is interested in slots made available by the collapse of British holiday airline Monarch, its chief executive told Reuters, but said the process is unclear.

Monarch collapsed earlier this month, stranding thousands of people, and sparking speculation about what will happen to the take-off and landing slots it occupied at airports such as London Gatwick and Luton.

“We could very well use the slots, but it’s not that easy to actually transfer slots,” Norwegian Air CEO Bjorn Kjos told Reuters on the sidelines of the CAPA Global Summit.

Monarch administrators KPMG are hoping they can raise funds from the sale of the slots and have said they believe they have the right to sell them.

“It depends on the price. It’s always depending on the price. But normally, it’s not that easy to sell slots,” Kjos said.

Norwegian has expanded rapidly in recent years and is shaking up the transatlantic market by offering low-cost long-haul flights.

It last month agreed a partnership deal with easyJet that it hopes will boost ticket sales on long-haul routes.

Norwegian is also looking to expand in Argentina and has applied to operate routes, but seems unlikely to get approval to start flights this year, as planned.

“We are optimistic about the concession. I think they are in the process of approving them,” Kjos said, saying it expected it would take weeks, rather than months or years to get approval.

He said Norwegian might able to start some flights at the end of the summer season in the southern hemisphere, which is just starting now.

He added though it might be more prudent to wait until the start of next summer to ramp up, because that is when demand would be higher. (Reporting by Alistair Smout and Victoria Bryan; Editing by Christoph Steitz and David Evans)

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