By ILARIA GRASSO MACOLA | cityam.com
British Airways (BA) announced today it will restart flying from Gatwick from March 2022, selling tickets for 35 destinations that will be part of its short-haul subsidiary British Airways*’s operations.
Created to compete with the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair, the subsidiary company will begin to operate as a standalone business from August, with BA initially running short-haul flights until British Airways*’s Air Operators certificate is ready.
Mainline BA will start with 3 short-haul Airbus planes, ramping up to 18 aircraft by the end of May.
“The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organisation means Gatwick customers will benefit from access to a premium service from the UK’s flag carrier at competitive prices,” said BA’s boss Sean Doyle. “We are looking forward to bringing a short-haul network back to Gatwick, with a fantastic flying team in place, to serve our customers from London’s second hub airport, which we feel sure will be a success.”
BA recently started recruiting pilots for the Gatwick subsidiary, looking for applicants that can fly an Airbus A320 on European routes and possess “excellent leadership and teamwork, decision making and communication skills.”
After months of tensions between BA and unions – especially with the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) – the carrier finally received backing in early November, with Luis Gallego, boss of BA’s owner IAG, telling Bloomberg that agreements were reached also with flight attendants’ unions.
Despite signing a letter asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson to remove travel restrictions and extend Covid-19 loans, the carrier has decided to move on with its Gatwick plans.
“We urgently request you meet with us, to understand the problems that we and our customers are now facing because of these measures, which the transport secretary himself admitted risked ‘killing off’ the travel industry. We urge you to act now to prevent this from happening,” the letter – which was signed by Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and BA’s chief executives – read.
After witnessing a 5.29 per cent slump yesterday, today IAG’s shares have gone up 0.98 per cent.