British Airways has confirmed plans to launch a new budget operation at Gatwick with flights starting in March.
It will use the name British Airways but will exist as an “entirely separate entity”.
Some 35 destinations will be offered including Athens, Berlin, Faro, Ibiza, Madrid, Malaga, Marrakech, Milan Malpensa, Santorini and Tenerife.
Tickets will start at £ 39 each way, putting it in direct competition with easyJet, Gatwick’s biggest airline.
BA negotiated new pay and working conditions agreements with pilots and cabin crew in relation to the new branch.
The operation will be similar to that of BA CityFlyer, a subsidiary of the airline based at London City Airport. It will initially be managed by British Airways, starting with three short-haul Airbus jets before scaling to 18 aircraft by the end of May before the summer.
In fall 2022, flights will be managed separately under the BA Euroflyer name, but the brand name will remain British Airways.
Passengers are promised they will receive “the same high level of service they expect from British Airways”, including free water and snacks, “generous” baggage allowance, free seat selection in 24 hours before departure and benefits for frequent travelers.
The vast majority of British Airways short-haul flights from Gatwick have been suspended since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company had previously said flights were in deficit even before the virus crisis, and would only restart if there was “a competitive and sustainable operating cost base.”
BA CEO Sean Doyle said: “The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organization means Gatwick customers will enjoy access to premium UK airline service at competitive prices.
“We are looking forward to bringing a short haul network back to Gatwick, with a fantastic flight team in place, to serve our customers from London’s second airport, which we are sure will be a success. “
Gatwick is generally the UK’s second busiest airport, but has been hit hard by the pandemic.
Only 4.6 million passengers crossed it in the 12 months leading up to October, a tenth of the 2019 total.
Gatwick Managing Director Stewart Wingat said: “This important news will be welcome to many people connected to the airport.
“Despite the current public health situation, today’s announcement is a positive signal that consumer confidence is returning as people start to think about making travel plans for next summer.
“Given the difficult times we have just been through, we expect the new and extensive network of BA services from Gatwick to destinations across Europe to be in high demand and our staff, retailers, restaurants, cafes and bars are all looking forward to welcoming BA returning passengers in greater numbers from April next year. “
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This notice was published: 2021-12-14 12:11:51