British Airways forced to lease out old Monarch Gatwick slots

British Airways has been forced to lease out a number of slots it bought from Monarch.

Buying slots is a risky business as there is no legal right to ownership, it’s been equated to the way Britain administrates vanity plates of cars.

With a plate, you buy the right to use it, but once you do and put it on the car, it’s not yours, it belongs to the State. Only when you place it on retention and re-register the car or transfer it to a different car do you have any entitlement to the plate. As soon as you place it on a vehicle, it’s not yours again!

U Technically if the car is written off with a vanity plate registration, you loose all rights to that plate.

And that’s pretty much how slots work. You buy the right to use it from the previous user, but failure to use it means you have no rights to it and it gets returned to the slot administrator. Indeed buying it from a previous user is a black market, legal contracts only exist between one user and the next. Slot Administrators have no power to prevent it happening. It’s a very dark market and their are calls for it to be better regulated across Europe.

So greedy BA, desperate for slots at Gatwick doesn’t have the means to use them all. So it will lease it’s nominal rights to third party airlines, again a private contract between them. The Administrator just has to manage who is using what and when.

BA doesn’t have the right to the slots indefinitely if it doesn’t use them during a 12 month period, for a regular service, it can’t just fly in and out once to maintain the route.

The airline hopes to have more aircraft in a year or so to use the slots itself.