Ryanair to bid for Flybe slots at Gatwick

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Ryanair is to bid for London Gatwick slots being sold by Flybe.

Confirming the Irish budget carrier's intention, deputy chief Howard Millar says: "I think there's an attractive range of slots."

Millar characterises Gatwick airport as "a niche player for us", adding: "There is a market that we think we can serve from south of London. If we got [the slots] at the right price, we'd certainly be interested." But he stresses that there is "a lot more flexibility" at less-congested Stansted, where Ryanair is the dominant player. Gatwick, he says, "wouldn't really be suitable for the vast bulk of our operation".

Earlier this month, Flybe said it is in discussions with a number of parties "which may or may not lead to a transaction regarding the exchange for compensation payment of the arrival and departure slots at Gatwick airport". In January, the UK regional carrier revealed a restructuring plan that involves 300 job cuts.

Innovata schedules data shows that in April, Ryanair operated 53 weekly frequencies from Gatwick, ranking it seventh among the airport's carriers. EasyJet was first with more than 1,000, and Flybe third with 162.