*****UPDATE: As we often note these are unusual times and therefore it’s no surprise to learn that BA has now cancelled these plans at Gatwick.
However as nothing is certain in aviation there could be further changes. Only last year the indications were that BA would “abandon Gatwick”.
It’s also understood that, according to aviation analyst @SeanM1997 all BA short-haul flights from Gatwick have been withdrawn for Winter 2021 and Summer 2022 (with the exception of services to Manchester and Glasgow).*****
British Airways has confirmed that it is talks with unions over the future of its short-haul flights at London Gatwick, with proposals on the table for a new subsidiary.
Following the onset of Covid-19 the carrier consolidated the majority of its short-haul operations at Heathrow airport (selected long-haul flights continue at Gatwick), and in April it confirmed that this would continue to be the case until the end of October.
This week a widely reported internal memo to BA staff said:
“As you know, we haven’t been operating short-haul flights at Gatwick during the pandemic. This was previously a highly competitive market, but for us to run a sustainable airline in the current environment, we need a competitive operating model.
“Because of that, we are proposing a new operating subsidiary to run alongside our existing long-haul Gatwick operation, to serve short haul routes to/from Gatwick from summer 2022. This will help us to be both agile and competitive, allowing us to build a sustainable short haul presence at Gatwick over time.
“As of today, we don’t have the answers, but we want to be upfront about the complexity we’re dealing with, and working through with your trade union representatives. We will keep you posted as things develop.”
BA has also provided Business Traveller with the following short official statement:
“We are working with our unions on proposals for a short-haul operation at Gatwick. We are not prepared to comment further while this process continues.”
And pilots’ union BALPA has released the following statement:
“BALPA cautiously welcomes this decision to restart BA short haul operations at LGW and create a number of much needed new pilot jobs.
“BALPA and BA are in the final stages of negotiations over the revised pay and conditions for Gatwick based BA pilots and we hope to bring these talks to a conclusion shortly.”
It’s not clear at this stage whether BA’s proposed Gatwick short-haul operations would fly under a separate brand – fellow IAG member carrier Iberia operates short and medium-haul feeder routes under its Iberia Express brand.
British Airways has previously operated a low-cost short-haul subsidiary out of Stansted airport under the “Go” branding, which was sold in a management buyout in 2001 and eventually merged into Easyjet.
According to Cirium data, under normal operations BA has a schedule of 47 short-haul routes at Gatwick, and is the second largest carrier at the airport after Easyjet.
The news comes after Gatwick airport this week unveiled plans to move to dual runway operations, targeting an increase in passenger capacity to approximately 75 million per year by 2038.