Monarch administrator gets its old slots back

In a land Mark ruling the UK Appeals Court has given Monarch its slots at Gatwick back.

The administrators, KPMG will be allowed to sell the slots and recoup some of the money owed to creditors – the slots are valued at around £60m. Much of the money will go back to Greybull, the legal owners of the airline.

The decision has upset airlines and airports, never mind the slot administration company ASL. Under the legal framework only viable airlines with an active AOC are entitled to maintain routes, so the appeals court decision has changed the landscape completely.

Ownership of slots as assets has not existed in law. The right to a slot is what is purchased, and even the practice is not regulated or formally recognised. Not using a slot can result in forfeiture, the sale of a slot pair is an informal payment by one airline to another – the slot is not tied to a route, but it can have restrictions on what type of routes it can be used for.

EasyJet and others at Gatwick are not keen on paying for slots they see as unused and unusable by Monarch. ASL certainly sees its position undermined in being able to allocate vacated slots.

The appeals court decision effectively makes slots a physical asset – something so far not accepted as a legal reality. It’s not impossible the decision may be taken to the Supreme Court by a group of airlines and airports.