British Airways is bringing back short-haul flights from Gatwick Airport

A planned new subsidiary for short-haul flights at Gatwick will feature “the same full standard of service” which is currently provided to passengers, according to British Airways.

The airline’s plan is to restart domestic and European flights from the West Sussex airport, but will only do so if it has “a competitive and sustainable operating cost base”.

British Airways had suspended these flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.

These sorts of flights were not a profitable part of its business, even before the virus hit, and it warned that the competitive industry would be “even tougher” to navigate once the pandemic is over.

It is currently in negotiations with trade unions over the pay and conditions of staff working for the subsidiary, which it hopes to launch in the summer of 2022.

British Airways’ hopes for the service

British Airways said in a statement to the PA News Agency that: “From a customer experience perspective the new airline will be British Airways branded and customers will continue to benefit from the same full standard of service that they currently receive from us, alongside competitive fares.”

The new business would involve up to 17 Airbus A320 aircraft being based at Gatwick in summer 2022, with more added in line with demand over the following three to four years.

Earlier this week, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary claimed Gatwick would be “the last airport” a firm should choose to launch a London-based low fare airline.

Speaking to the PA News Agency, Mr O’Leary referred to the previous failed attempts by British Airways to operate budget subsidiaries.

He said: “BA is the very definition of insanity. This would be the fifth or sixth go at setting up a low cost airline, generally focused around Gatwick.

“They’ve tried Go, they had BA Express, BA Connect. It’s never worked.”

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