The Sunday Times has interesting story (Sunday Times Paywall) which states that Flybe is in discussions with easyJet to sell its portfolio of slots at London Gatwick airport.
Rumours have surfaced online that Flybe is considering disposing of its London Gatwick slots and, ergo, withdrawing services from the airport. I don’t place great credibility on The Sunday Times’ business section and I’m not sure whether it these online rumours have prompted The Sunday Times article, or an off the record briefing by one of the airlines.
There is some logic to a transaction. Flybe is currently loss-making and is in the process of implementing a turn-around plan to restore the airline to profitability. easyJet has also gained a significant foothold at London Gatwick (much to the detriment of British Airways) and according to this Financial Times article it has institutional investor support for capacity expansion. Though the same cannot be said for the family of Stelios Haji-Ioannou which owns 37% of the airline.
However, I would imagine that easyJet would not be the only airline interested and this slot disposal would provide Vueling with the ideal entry point to develop a network at London Gatwick.
Update: FlyBe has issued a statement confirming it is in discussions with a number of parties over the sale of slots.