IAG’s Willie Walsh eyes slots of failed Monarch airline

IAG — the owner of Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia — is interested in the London Gatwick slots of failed airline Monarch after it collapsed last week, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said, adding that the reduction of capacity was good for the industry.

IAG’s Willie Walsh eyes slots of failed Monarch airline

“With Monarch, I think everybody’s interested in slots at Gatwick, and that would be principally our interest as well... If we can get more slots at Gatwick, we’ll certainly be looking for more,” Mr Walsh said on the sidelines of the CAPA centre for aviation global summit. Norwegian Air Shuttle’s CEO said earlier in the week he may also be interested in the slots.

Monarch’s collapse could reduce capacity in Europe’s highly competitive airline sector.

With Ryanair cancelling flights over its pilot rostering fiasco, and the issues at Air Berlin and Alitalia, the rest of the sector could benefit, Mr Walsh said.

“What the whole combination does is it clearly means there will be less growth, less capacity going into the market, particularly through this winter, so from an industry point of view that’s probably to be viewed as a positive,” he said.

IAG has just approved an eighth A321LR aircraft for Aer Lingus and could go as high as 12, Mr Walsh said.

He said IAG’s new long-haul, low-cost airline Level planned a fleet of up to 30 aircraft by 2022 and was looking at flying to Asia as well, particularly the secondary cities.

Meanwhile, with the ink barely dry on Lufthansa’s €210m deal to take over large parts of insolvent Air Berlin, the airline risks having its wings clipped by regulators and rivals concerned about unfair competition.

Austrian competition authorities said they believed Lufthansa, which also owns Austrian Airlines, would be too dominant in Vienna if it owned Austria-based Niki.

Separately, Malaysia Airlines is watching the testing of the Airbus A330neo due to enter service next year as it evaluates an order for around 30 long-haul aircraft, said it Irish CEO Peter Bellew said.

Mr Bellew previously worked for Ryanair.

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