Monarch administrators seek judicial review over slots sale

Administrators handling the affairs of collapsed British airline Monarch are seeking a judicial review to allow them to sell the carrier’s take-off and landing slots.

The move comes after it emerged the failed airline could to be stripped of the slots, which are understood to be its most valuable asset and worth about £60m.

Monarch ceased trading earlier this month amid mounting cost pressures, leaving about 110,000 customers stranded overseas, following the appointment of insolvency specialists at KPMG.

Blair Nimmo, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Given the complexity of the slot exchange process, we are seeking a judicial review on this particular matter.

“In addition to assisting the joint administrators fulfil their statutory duties, we believe this to be in the wider public interest, with the intention of resolving this matter quickly and with the greatest chance of maximising the continued use of the slots.”

Earlier this month it emerged that KPMG may not have the right to retain and sell Monarch’s potentially lucrative airport slots amid uncertainty around the airline’s operating licence.

Monarch was rescued three years ago by investment firm Greybull Capital which injected £125m into the group for a 90 percent stake, with the remainder passing to the Pension Protection Fund.

Although its management team attempted to turnaround its fortunes, the airline remained loss-making and a further investment of £165m was required in October 2016.

Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield blamed “outside influences” for badly affecting the airline in recent years, including terrorism acts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Following the carrier’s administration, its take-off and landing slots at London Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds-Bradford have attracted interest from the likes of easyJet, IAG, Wizz Air and Norwegian.

READ MORE: Why did Monarch go bust? Routesonline looks at what went wrong at collapsed British airline - from terrorist attacks to fierce competition from low-cost carriers.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.