Just a couple of weeks ago is seemed that proposals for a new British Airways short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick airport would not go ahead, after the carrier was unable to reach an agreement with pilots’ union BALPA.
But two weeks is a long time in aviation, particularly in the current climate, and it now appears that BA may have a short-haul future at the South London airport after all.
The FT reports that pilots have now backed a deal, and BALPA has provided Business Traveller with the following statement:
“The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) and British Airways have concluded an important new agreement covering revised pay and working hours for British Airways pilots operating short-haul operations at Gatwick.
“This agreement is now BA’s preferred option in relation to the future of short-haul operations at Gatwick. We understand BA is continuing its discussions with other stakeholders with a view to relaunching operations next summer. We expect BA to reach a final decision shortly.”
But it may not yet be a done deal – the FT reports that “BA is understood to be considering its options for the slots, and could yet sell them or pass them to its sister airlines”.
It also points out that the carrier still has to agree terms with cabin crew unions.
British Airways has also provided Business Traveller with the following statement:
“We will now further develop our proposal to provide a full-service short-haul subsidiary operation at Gatwick, offering competitive fares to our customers.
“We will continue discussions with our colleagues, trade unions, suppliers and other stakeholders, following this positive result, and if we can agree a way forward with all parties, we would hope to begin operations next summer.”
The airline has not operated any short-haul services from Gatwick airport (with the exception of a small number of domestic flights) since the onset of Covid-19, having consolidated its short-haul operations at Heathrow.