British Airways pilots have voted in favour of proposals for BA to establish a new airline company at London Gatwick to operate short haul flights.
Almost all BA short haul flights at Gatwick have been suspended since March 2020. BA had been in negotiations with the pilots union BALPA to establish a new airline company to operate short haul flights at the airport. BA’s parent company IAG had cited a need to be “flexible and competitive” at Gatwick.
The new airline company will operate under the BA name with a very similar on board service to short haul flights at present. It will have a lower cost base and a scheduled geared more towards summer seasonal flights with lower pay for pilots during the quieter winter months.
Talks between BA and BALPA broke down which prompted BA to publicly announce that it was suspending almost all short haul flights at the airport. Last week, almost all Gatwick short haul flights were moved to London Heathrow for the summer 2022 season. This left BA with almost no alternative but to lease or sell its Gatwick slots to rival airlines.
A revised proposal was agreed between BA and BALPA last Sunday. In a ballot held by BALPA, BA pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour (82%) with a turnout of 75%.
British Airways is to reintroduce the Airbus A380 aircraft into service at London Heathrow.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BA’s fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft have been grounded.
BA CEO Sean Doyle previously indicated that the aircraft would be reintroduced to the US in late 2021. Though, there were doubts this could happen due to uncertainty over when the US would lift travel restrictions.
BA has now confirmed that 4 aircraft will be brought back into service to operate long haul flights from early December.
Short Haul Flights
The Airbus A380 will operate short haul return flights from London Heathrow in November to allow for crew familiarisation.
BA has not officially confirmed on which routes these will operate though it is widely reported to be a morning return flight to Frankfurt and an afternoon return flight to Madrid.
The A380 is not currently appearing in online timetables and it may be they are only loaded shortly beforehand.
It is also likely that BA will limit the number of seats sold on these flights in case aircraft have to be substituted at the last minute.
British Airways has once again extended the transfer of almost all short haul routes from London Gatwick to Heathrow until at leastSunday 30 October 2022.
BA originally transferred all Gatwick short haul routes to Heathrow in March 2020. The airline had planned to restart short haul flights at Gatwick from the start of the summer 2022 travel season on Sunday 27 March. Talks with the pilots union BALPA to set up a new subsidiary company to operate these flights under the BA name broke down.
BA has now confirmed that former Gatwick short haul routes will continue to operate at London Heathrow during the summer 2022 season. They will operate under their former Gatwick flight numbers, which are four digits long and begin with a 2.
British Airways has launched a new winter seasonal route from London City and Southampton airports to Salzburg.
Flights from London City launch on Friday 10 December 2021. They will initially operate twice weekly, before reducing to Saturdays only from 19 March 2022. The route is due to end Saturday 16 April 2022.
A weekly service from Southampton also launches on Saturday 11 December 2021 and will end at the same time as the London City route.
This will complement BA’s existing winter seasonal service to Salzburg from London Heathrow which is also due to resume on Friday 10 December 2021. Passengers can combine departure and arrival airports, if appropriate.
British Airways has once again extended the suspension almost all short haul flights at London Gatwick airport.It plans to restart flights in March 2022, operated by a new subsidiary airline.
The vast majority of Gatwick short haul routes have transferred to London Heathrow for the winter 2021 season. This runs from Sunday 31 October 2021 to Saturday 26 March 2022.
The only short haul routes expected to operate at Gatwick over the winter season include Amsterdam, Glasgow and Manchester. The airline will continue to run a limited network of long haul flights at the airport. All BA flights at Gatwick continue to operate from the North Terminal.
This was expected as BA should be able to cancel flights at Gatwick over the winter season without forfeiting its airport slots.
This means the airline will go two years without operating a significant schedule of short haul flights at Gatwick.
Further changes to BA’s short haul route network and schedules from all UK airports are likely over the winter season. This is due to continued uncertainty over both COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the level of demand for business and leisure travel.