Level interested in Monarch slots at Gatwick

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  • Tom Otley

    This was mentioned again today by Robert Lea in The Times.

    “At Gatwick, word is the slots will go to IAG, the British Airways group, which could launch Level, a long-haul low cost carrier in competition with Norwegian.”

    It was in reference to Willie Walsh saying he would be interested in acquiring some of Monarch’s Gatwick slots.

    He has previously said that new entrants would be favoured, and if that was the case, then both Iberia Express and Level (among IAG’s airlines) would qualify.

    “Should Monarch be stripped of the slots, they would be redistributed by Airport Co-ordination Limited, which organises slot redistribution for the aviation industry.

    Mr Walsh said that in such a process a new entrant airline would get precedence and he noted his company’s Level and Iberia Express did not operate out of the airport – one of the UK’s busiest – at present.

    “The interest in Gatwick is not just from British Airways,” Mr Walsh said. “We would only have priority with a new entrant and there are parts of the company that would be new entrants.” These included Level and Iberia Express.”

    If Level start flights from Gatwick, I wonder where they would fly first. Norwegian routes, or British Airways ones?


    Once Level is established at LGW it makes sense to operate to BA’s holiday destinations and let BA continue to mainly business destinations where their CASM is higher and they get higher RASM.
    Level will get known in the UK and lower cost A330s can easily compete with the newer B787s operated by NO.


    Logical it is for Level to attempt to take over slots released by the closure of Monarch.

    The question of destinations would be determined by Level´s model and (IAG´s)intensions.

    I would see that IAG would want to expand its business without cannabilizing any of its profitable routes. This would also be combined with low-cost operators ideas of “joining-the-dots”. It would thus be quite logical for Level to run routes to Oakland, Los Angeles, Punta Cana(possibly) but not Buenos Aires (even if Norwegian flies the same route. Norwegian woud win any contest from Buenos Aires with the feed provided by the domestic Argentinian network it is setting up.).

    After that what becomes logical is to offer alternatives to other destinations with a “Spanish” flavour, e.g. Miami, Cancun, Puerto Rico and Cuba.As a connecting flight I would also expect to see Gatwick to Barcelona, where Level is based.

    A lot will depend on Level´s next moves elsewhere. How many European operations are going to be opened in the mid-term? How much and to where is the destination board to be extended? We shall see. In fact I am already surprised that nothing has been announced for next summer.

    Tom Otley

    Movement on who will be selling the slots (FT.com piece)

    Monarch’s administrators win airport slots’ battle

    Court ruling is victory for airline’s owner Greybull that has first call on assets


    Very illogical to give future slots to a defunct airline with no’planes or AOC or pilots and no intention or business plan to operate?
    Presumably this can go to the EU court for another two years?
    Good publicity by owners to say they may pay back government money too!


    Monarch slots at Manchester, announced this morning, allocated to 3 extra Ryanair, 6 extra easyJet 2 extra Jet2 (including long-haul), new Vueling 2 aircraft base, BA Cityflyer up to 3 weekend ERJs and ops by LOT, Croatian, airbaltic and Tunisair .

    Source CAPA states

    Ryanair, currently the largest airline by capacity at Manchester, looks set to grow from nine to 12 aircraft with new routes expected to include Agadir, Almeria, Catania, Cagliari, Ponto Delgada, Porto, Reus, Rhodes, Venice and Verona, plus frequency increases in many existing markets.

    The Irish budget carrier could be overtaken by easyJet with its based fleet possibly growing from 12 to 18 aircraft. Details of its proposed schedule has not yet been formalised but is likely to include flights to Genoa, Mahon and Nice. Jet2.com is understood to have slots for two additional aircraft, including a second Airbus A330-200, which could be used to launch a long-haul offer in partnership with its Jet2holidays arm, perhaps to Florida or Cancun in Mexico.

    Vueling, which has served Manchester continuously since June 2015, is expected to open a new two aircraft base at the facility to serve the likes of Faro, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Malaga, Palma adding to its existing flights to Barcelona and recent services to Alicante, Rome and Tenerife.
    New entrants at Manchester in summer 2018 may include LOT Polish Airlines (twice daily to Warsaw), airBaltic (twice weekly to Tallinn), Croatia Airlines (twice weekly to Split) and Tunisair (weekly to Monastir), although these are not directly thought to be linked to the Monarch collapse as most slots are at not at peak times. Similarly there are new long haul links on the cards into China and India, albeit it is unclear if allocated slots will be taken up by the airlines.


    LEVEL has updated its website with the new flights from Paris to start in 2018.


    It is interesting to note that Paris to New York JFK has been dropped from the Open Skies portfolio which LEVEL is taking over while Paris to Newark is maintained. To that route must be added Montreal, Martinique and Guadaloupe. The addition of the Caribbean islands is a little surprising considering the strong competition on those routes – 4? competitors.
    Note also the addition of Boston to the destinations offered from Barcelona.
    Unless there will be more on offer from Paris and Barcelona, it only remains to be seen what destinations, if any, LEVEL is going to offer from Gatwick with the new slots obtained.

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