November 8, 2019 / 10:25 AM / 13 days ago

EasyJet, Jet2.com buy Thomas Cook's UK airport slots

FILE PHOTO: Passengers board an easyJet plane at Nantes-Atlantique airport in Bouguenais, near Nantes, France, April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British budget airlines easyJet (EZJ.L) and Jet2.com have bought the take-off and landing slots of failed travel company Thomas Cook at London Gatwick and Manchester airports, respectively.

Thomas Cook’s UK business and airline went into immediate insolvency when the company collapsed in September, and a court appointed an official receiver to liquidate its assets.

EasyJet bought Thomas Cook’s slots at London Gatwick and Bristol airports for 36 million pounds ($46 million), while Jet2.com, owned by Dart Group (DTG.L), bought slots at Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted for an undisclosed price.

London Gatwick and Manchester had been Thomas Cook’s main UK bases, and the liquidators have now sold all the available slots in Thomas Cook’s UK portfolio.

EasyJet acquired 12 of summer slot pairs and 8 winter slot pairs at Gatwick, plus six summer slot pairs and one winter slot pair at Bristol, in the deal. The airline added that contractual terms had been concluded.

Last month Hays Travel bought Thomas Cook’s network of British travel agent shops, while China’s Fosun, which had been the largest shareholder of the group, bought the Thomas Cook brand last week.

The collapse of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company stranded tens of thousands of passengers as its UK business immediately stopped trading.

Its Nordic business was rescued last month, while its German airline Condor is still operating.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Louise Heavens

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