Virgin Atlantic has gained a very valuable Heathrow slot pair from Cobalt Air.
We have covered the rise and fall of Cyprus-based Cobalt Air on Head for Points, since they offered an impressive business class product on routes from the UK to Larnaca and Athens.
When Cobalt fell into administration a couple of weeks, I assumed that was the end of the story. It seems not.
At Heathrow, Cobalt Air was using a slot pair owned by Virgin Atlantic. These are slots which Virgin Atlantic purchased from Cyprus Air back in 2012 but had yet to start using.
With the record price paid for a pair of Heathrow slots now over $100m, this is clearly a very valuable asset. However, the ‘use them or lose them’ rules imposed by the airport meant they were at risk.
According to Business Travel News – read the story here – Virgin Atlantic went to court in Cyprus to get an injunction to stop the Government revoking Cobalt’s operating licences. With the injunction successfully granted, Cobalt was able to legally transfer the slot back to Virgin Atlantic instead of it becoming part of the administration process. Once this was done, Virgin Atlantic dropped its injunction and the airline was again effectively dead.
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