Gatwick was stung last winter by the failure of Monarch, which held a number of slots at the Sussex hub. These were later sold to British Airways parent IAG.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick airport chief executive, this week told the Financial Times he forecast a further “small number” of airline failures this winter.
He added he expected IAG to start deploying some of the ex-Monarch slots for new or expanded long-haul routes out of Gatwick.
Cypriot carrier Cobalt’s collapse last week, after just two years operation, came less than three weeks after the demise of burgeoning low-cost long-haul airline Primera Air.
It is understood Cobalt’s Chinese backers, who owned 49% of the airline, were unable due to channel funds to the airline due to trade restrictions in China.
According to the Cyprus Mail, around 18,000 passengers were affected by Cobalt’s collapse on October 17. Passengers who were due to fly with Cobalt on October 17 or October 18 were advised to book a single one-way economy ticket home and provide evidence of their booking to the Cypriot Ministry of Transport for reimbursement.
Those who were, or are, due to travel with Cobalt up to and including October 24 have been put in touch with travel brokers in Cyprus to arrange repatriation with the costs covered by the Republic of Cyprus.
Cypriot transport minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou has said the government may yet pursue Cobalt for the cost of repatriating stranded passengers, the Cyprus Mail reports.
The failures of Cobalt and Primera follow those of Germany’s Small Planet and Belgium’s VLM, and last year, those of Air Berlin, Alitalia and Monarch.
Ryanair this week reported a 7% fall in profit, after tax, for the first half of its financial year to €1.20 billion. This comes after the airline issued a profit warning at the start of the month citing pilot and cabin crew strikes, rising fuel prices, EU compensation costs and a decline in third quarter bookings.
Flybe last week followed Ryanair by issuing its own profit warning, highlighting weakening consumer demand, rising fuel prices and a soft pound.