The liquidators of Thomas Cook's British operations have kicked off a process aimed at raising tens of millions of pounds from an auction of dozens of airport take-off and landing slots.
The auction, which includes about 15 pairs of summer slots at London's Gatwick Airport, has drawn interest from some of the UK's biggest carriers, including British Airways' parent company International Airlines Group.
EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Wizz Air are also understood to have lodged offers for limited numbers of slots, with Thomas Cook having operated out of Aberdeen and Manchester airports, in addition to Gatwick.
In an aviation market constrained by capacity restrictions, take-off and landing slots can be among an airline's most valuable assets.
Although Thomas Cook's slots were generally less valuable because of their departure and arrival times in the middle of the day, analysts expect them to generate a substantial sum for the company's liquidators to distribute to creditors.
Sources said the auction needed to be completed by the middle of November for legal reasons, allowing a four-week period between initial bids and the conclusion of the sale process.