Friday 23 August 2019
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Monarch administrators refused permission to appeal against runway slots

The ill-fated airline can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal to continue its legal battle

Administrators for failed airline Monarch have been refused permission to appeal after losing a High Court battle over “valuable” runway slots it wants to exchange with other carriers to raise cash for creditors.

However, the ill-fated airline, which went into administration on October 2, can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

In the wake of last week’s decision against them, Blair Nimmo, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said they would be seeking leave to appeal as a matter of urgency.

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”.

They refused a “stay” on their order in respect of Manchester and Birmingham airports, but granted one in relation to Gatwick and Luton until November 17, or until further order.

On Wednesday, that stay was extended until November 23 provided that an application for permission to appeal has been made by 4pm on November 16.

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