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British Airways launches new Turkish route after Thomas Cook collapse

Wed, 9th Oct 2019 16:25

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - British Airways announced the
launch of a new flight from London's Gatwick Airport to the
Turkish resort of Antalya on Wednesday, once one of Thomas
Cook's most popular routes, as airlines jostle to fill the void
left by its collapse.

British Airways, owned by IAG, said that the
six-per-week service would begin on April 30 2020, and also
promoted the flight with a British Airways Holidays offer.

Thomas Cook collapsed last month, with its UK business
entering liquidation. Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey were Thomas
Cook Airlines' most popular destinations for British travellers,
according to data from airline database Cirium.

"Holiday makers can look forward to another option when
flying to Turkey with British Airways next summer," said Adam
Carson, BA's managing director of Gatwick.

A spokeswoman for British Airways said that the route
announcement had been a long time coming and was not connected
to Thomas Cook's failure.

But its collapse has seen airlines exploring how they can
replace Thomas Cook's capacity to holiday destinations or buy
its slots at airports like Gatwick or Manchester.

Turkey's Tourism Minister said last month that easyJet and
Dart Group's Jet2.com would join BA in boosting their flight
numbers to Turkey, adding that Turkey will be able to make up
for the shortfall in tourist numbers after Thomas Cook's
failure.

EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren has said the
airline is looking at Thomas Cook's assets, although it is not
interested in buying Condor, Thomas Cook's German airline, which
is still operating and has been offered a bridging loan by the
German government.

A spokesman for AlixPartners, which is handling the
liquidation of Thomas Cook's UK airline and tour operator, was
not immediately available to comment on whether there had been
bids for Thomas Cook's airport slots.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has expressed interest in
taking on some of Thomas Cook's leased Airbus planes and pilots,
but also said that the airline group is not interested in taking
on Condor.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout in London and Laurence Frost in
Paris; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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