November 24, 2017 / 12:27 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Thomas Cook bids for Monarch's London Gatwick runway slots - sources

(Adds further details, background)

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Travel firm Thomas Cook has bid for failed rival Monarch Airlines’ landing and take-off slots at London Gatwick airport, two sources close to discussions said, after Monarch’s administrator secured rights to sell the slots.

Earlier this week the administrator won an appeal against a previous London High Court court ruling that Monarch had lost any rights over the potentially valuable slots since it was no longer capable of operating any flights.

The administrator now hopes to recover money for creditors by transferring rights to use the slots at London’s Gatwick and Luton airports.

“We’ve expressed an interest,” one source said, confirming that Thomas Cook had bid for slots at Gatwick but not at Luton. Thomas Cook Airlines declined to comment.

EasyJet, IAG, Wizz and Norwegian have already expressed their interest in acquiring the slots at the London airports. Monarch estimates its slots could be worth around 60 million pounds ($80 million), though that is disputed by airlines such as easyJet.

On Wednesday Thomas Cook reported that its profits were under pressure from intense competition as European tour operators and airlines chase the shift in demand for holidays from eastern to western Mediterranean destinations such as Spain.

However, profits rose at Thomas Cook Airlines, helped by a recovery in its German carrier, Condor. The collapse of Monarch, as well as the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of flights by Ryanair, has taken capacity out of the market, which easyJet on Tuesday said was helping to support a rise in air fares this winter. (Reporting by Alistair SmoutEditing by Greg Mahlich)

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