BA resumes plans for low cost short haul service from Gatwick


British Airways planes are parked at the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport in Crawley, Great Britain on August 25, 2021. REUTERS / Peter Nicholls / File Photo

LONDON, Oct. 7 (Reuters) – British Airways has announced that it will continue its short-haul service plans at London’s No.2 Gatwick Airport after pilots backed the move to a new unit at low price that could better compete with competitors like easyJet (EZJ.L).

The move marks a change of direction after the airline, owned by IAG (ICAG.L), said two weeks ago it would abandon plans for a new service, accusing pilots of rejecting the proposal. EasyJet shares fell 2.5%.

However, BA will still need to consult with other unions and stakeholders before deciding whether to definitely go ahead.

“We will now further develop our proposal to provide a full service, short haul branch at Gatwick, offering competitive rates to our customers,” he said in a statement.

“We will continue discussions with our colleagues, unions, suppliers and other stakeholders, following this positive outcome, and if we can agree a way forward with all parties, we hope to begin operations next summer. “

BA is rebuilding its operations after pulling out during the pandemic, moving most of its flights to its main hub at Britain’s largest airport, Heathrow.

It had said it would only rebuild its European network from Gatwick, where easyJet is the largest airline, if it could make it profitable.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said it has now reached an agreement with BA on wages and working conditions.

BALPA acting secretary general Martin Chalk said the deal was now BA’s preferred option for Gatwick.

“We understand that BA is continuing its discussions with other stakeholders with a view to relaunching operations next summer. We expect BA to make a final decision shortly.”

Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Paul Sandle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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