Monarch Airlines’ administrators have lost a High Court battle over “valuable” runway slots it wanted to exchange with other carriers to raise cash for creditors.

The airline ceased trading last month and its administrators’ lawyers called the slots its “most valuable asset”.

The company which allocates 39 airports’ slots accepted that Monarch would have received some of them if it had not gone into administration.

Wizz Air and EasyJet are among airlines are interested in acquiring them.

Airport Co-ordination Limited’s decision not to allocate certain take-off and landing slots to Monarch for next summer was at the heart of its case.

One of its lawyers said: “ACL has no lawful power to refuse to allocate these slots or to ‘reserve’ them pending determination of proposals to revoke or suspend MAL’s operating licence.”

But the judges rejected the claim that ACL was under a duty to allocate the summer 2018 slots to Monarch “by reason of historical precedence”.

In a ruling today, the judges said that “there is no more than a theoretical possibility of Monarch emerging as a going concern or resuming the operation of air services.

“In these circumstances, we reject the Monarch claim that the defendant slot co-ordinator (ACL) was under a duty to allocate the summer 2018 slots to Monarch by reason of historical precedence.”