Monarch loses High Court ruling over runway slot assets

Failed airline Monarch has lost a High Court battle over "valuable" runway slots it wants to exchange with other carriers to raise cash for creditors.

Two judges in London gave a ruling on Wednesday against the ill-fated airline which went into administration on October 2.

The collapse of Monarch, which was owned by private equity firm Greybull Capital, led to 1,858 workers being made redundant and the flights and holidays of about 860,000 people being cancelled.

At the heart of the judicial review action by Monarch Airlines Ltd (MAL) was a decision by Airport Co-ordination Ltd (ACL) not to allocate certain take-off and landing slots to the airline for the summer 2018 season.

Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Lewis heard argument from Monarch's administrators that if received, those slots would represent its "most valuable asset", which it would seek to exchange with other airlines "to realise value for its creditors".

A QC argued that the approach taken by ACL was "unlawful", submitting: "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 Monarch "by reason of historical precedence".

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