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British Airways to review Gatwick Ops to protect Heathrow slots

A British Airways Airbus at London Gatwick Airport

A British Airways Airbus at London Gatwick Airport

According to sources close to the airline, British Airways (BA/BAW) is reviewing its operations at London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) on orders from owners International Airlines Group (IAG) who want to protect the landing slots at London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL).

IAG reportedly wants British Airways to focus on operations from London Heathrow as it fears if travel takes to long to rebound after the Coronavirus pandemic, it could lose its valuable slot pairs under the “use it or lose it” rules.

British Airways had all but abandoned Gatwick during in 2020 at the peak of the crisis but some operations have returned.

But Gatwick remains one of the worst affected airports in the UK following the downturn in aviation. Traffic is still down over 90% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The key factor in British Airways plans is whether the current suspension of the 80/20 or “use it or lose it” rule, which says airlines must operate at least 80% of their flights, continues or not as if the rule returns, British Airways may be forced to consolidate at Heathrow due to the value of their slot pairs.

Whilst British Airways haven’t spoken about the review, IAG Chief Executive Luis Gallego, recently told industry analysts that: “Gatwick is an important decision that we need to take as a group. It’s true that we have the issue with the slots.” adding “So we are analysing the different options.”

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