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Monarch loses slots battle in High Court

Monarch Airlines has lost its High Court battle over “valuable” runway slots it wanted to exchange with other carriers to raise cash for creditors.The airline ceased trading last month and its administrators’ lawyers called the slots its “most valuable asset”.The company which allocates 39 airports’ slots accepted that Monarch would have received some of them if it had not gone into administration.Wizz Air and EasyJet are among airlines who are interested in acquiring them.The slots cover Manchester, Gatwick, Birmingham, Luton and Leeds-Bradford airports.’Historical precedence’Airport Co-ordination Limited’s decision not to allocate certain take-off and landing slots to Monarch for next summer was at the heart of its case.One of its lawyers said: “ACL has no lawful power to refuse to allocate these slots or to ‘reserve’ them pending determination of proposals to revoke or suspend MAL’s operating licence.”But the judges rejected Monarch’s claim that ACL was under a duty to allocate the summer 2018 slots to it “by reason of historical precedence” and said they should be placed in the slot pool.Lord Justice Gross said: “Whatever flexibility and discretion ACL enjoys in other circumstances to reserve (or postpone) a decision, it is no longer entitled to reserve its decision on the summer 2018 slots on the facts of this case.”That would be to sterilise or distort part of the market, to the potential detriment of third parties, for an uncertain period of time.”The administrators want to appeal, but the judges adjourned a decision on granting their request until making a full judgement on the case at a later date.They did refuse the administrators’ request for a “stay” on their order in respect of Manchester and Birmingham airports, but granted one in relation to Gatwick and Luton until 17 November or further order.
Source: BBC News

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