British Airways abandons Gatwick plans after failed union talks

A British Airways Airbus at London Gatwick Airport
A British Airways Airbus at London Gatwick Airport

British Airways (BA/BAW) is abandoning its plans to operate a short-haul subsidiary from London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) after failing to reach an agreement with Unions.

The airline had planned to operate short-haul flights alongside its long-haul operation but no agreement could be reached with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA).

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “After many years of losing money on European flights from the airport, we were clear that coming out of the pandemic, we needed a plan to make Gatwick profitable and competitive.

“With regret, we will now suspend our short-haul operations at Gatwick, with the exception of a small number of domestic services connecting to our long-haul operation, and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots.”

It is unclear what British Airways plans to do with its Gatwick slot pairs but industry sources have suggested a likely sale to a low-cost carrier such as Easyjet or Wizz Air who are both looking to expand into Gatwick.

The sale could drive welcome revenue for British Airways as it bounces back from the pandemic.

Acting General Secretary for BALPA Martin Chalk said: “Despite our best efforts BALPA was unable to reach an agreement with British Airways on revised terms and conditions for London Gatwick short-haul that was acceptable to our members.

“The company has informed us it is now pulling out of London Gatwick short-haul and considering what to do with its London Gatwick slots.

“BALPA remains open to future negotiations with British Airways to address our members’ concerns with the proposal for London Gatwick short-haul or about any other part of the business.”

British Airways plans for Gatwick included an all-Airbus 17 aircraft base starting in Summer 2022.

About Nick Harding 1449 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.

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