BA to move to London Gatwick South terminal in November 2016

British Airways today confirmed that is to move its entire London Gatwick operation from the North terminal to the South terminal at an as yet unspecified date in November 2016.

The purpose of the move is to allow easyJet to consolidate its London Gatwick operation in the North terminal.

Gatwick Airport has confirmed details of the move.

BA will benefit from an upgraded check-in area and a new lounge facility for eligible passengers. BA has confirmed that a new lounge for eligible customers will be constructed in the North terminal.

As BA’s London Gatwick operation involves approximately 60 departures a day, we expect the move will take place in phases.

Perhaps what is more significant are easyJet’s ambitions once it consolidates operations in one terminal.

easyJet currently has 45% of departure and arrival slots at Gatwick, compared to just 16% for BA. Ten years ago, BA had 30% of departure and arrival slots, and easyJet had 13%.

easyJet has made a number of moves in recent years to move it closer to the traditional full service carrier model, such as offering allocated seating and fast track ground facilities.

The one thing easyJet doesn’t do is interline with other airlines (this is where an airline will transfer your bag to another airline’s flight on a connecting ticket). Nor does it codeshare with other airlines. Nor does it offer connections.

Currently, a passenger wishing to fly from say, Edinburgh to Tel Aviv via Gatwick would have to “self-connect” and buy two separate tickets (and hope for the best if things go wrong!).

If easyJet was to move to a traditional “hub” model offering connections and codeshares with other airlines, this could radically change its position in the market and that of London Gatwick. There is certainly precedent for a low cost carrier to do this, as Vueling does at its hub in Barcelona.

This would of course add cost and complexity to easyJet’s operation (which it may be keen to avoid) but connecting traffic could support many more routes from Gatwick.

One other point of note is that Aer Lingus (currently a takeover target for BA’s parent company International Airlines Group) also operates in the South terminal and a consolidation of operations may allow for greater co-operation between BA and Aer Lingus at Gatwick.

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