EasyJet buys Thomas Cook's airport slots for £36m

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
An easyJet flight approaches for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France. Photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

EasyJet (EZJ.L) has won the race to buy Thomas Cook’s berths at Gatwick and Bristol airports for £36m.

EasyJet said on Friday that it had bought 20 slot pairs at Gatwick and seven slot pairs at Bristol airport. This means the budget airline will be able to operate more services out of both airports during peak summer and winter seasons.

“Contractual terms have concluded and the slots have been awarded to easyJet,” the airline said in a brief statement.

EasyJet said it would “provide further details in the airline's full year results announcement on 19 November 2019.”

The slots were up for sale following the collapse of travel operator Thomas Cook in September. The 178-year-old travel firm went into liquidation at the end of September after failing to agree an 11th-hour rescue deal.

EasyJet shares were down 1% shortly after the announcement. Shares across the airline sector were suffering on Friday after International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L), the owner of British Airways, dramatically cut its forecast for passenger growth over the next four years. IAG is penciling in passenger growth of 3.4% per year between 2020-2023, down from an earlier forecast of 6%.