IAG International Airlines Group has confirmed that it has expressed an interest in acquiring some of the London Gatwick slots which have become available since the demise of Thomas Cook Airlines UK (MT, Manchester Int'l) in September.

The timeline for bidders for Thomas Cook's slots saw initial interest to be registered by October 14, with an offer deadline fixed for two days later. Handback for S19 Gatwick slots, through intermediary Airport Coordination Limited, was then scheduled for October 31.

Speaking to analysts on October 31 during IAG's 3Q earnings call, IAG CEO Willie Walsh said: “We’ve expressed an interest in a very limited number of slots at Gatwick. The general slot portfolio that Thomas Cook held at Gatwick wasn’t particularly attractive and, with the exception of some limited slots, we’ve no interest in any of the residual assets or activities of the Thomas Cook Group.”

The now-defunct Thomas Cook operated 16 departures on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 17 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 18 on Sundays during a peak week at Gatwick in August this summer. Typically, using its busiest day of the week during the summer, it had nine departures between 0500-1100L, five between 1100-1700L and four between 1700-2400L. It had planned to operate around nine daily slots pairs in the winter season from the UK's second busiest airport.

In terms of weekly seats at Gatwick during a peak week in S19, British Airways was the #2 capacity provider, behind easyJet (U2, London Luton), with Thomas Cook in fifth spot behind Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) and TUI Airways (BY, London Luton) in third and fourth positions respectively.