BREAKING NEWS: British Airways abandons Gatwick short haul as negotiation with BALPA collapses

BA Gatwick

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Last week it was revealed that BALPA had withdrawn from negotiations with BA over their prosed low-cost subsidiary due to launch  at Gatwick from next Spring.

In a surprise move, BA has today announced that there are suspended almost all short-haul services from Gatwick indefinitely apart from a few domestic flights which feed long haul flights. 

The new airline could have left some pilots being paid less than easyJet pilots. The pilots’ union Balpa had recommended the deal to members but it was rejected in a ballot last week. Then BA initially refused a request to give the subsidiary pilots any further pay rises and conditions that were negotiated for other BA pilots. Eventually, they relented but BALPA refused any further negotiations. This seems pretty crazy to me. It is predicted to be years until aviation has fully recovered which means it’s almost definite that more redundancies will happen. A number of routes are likely to disappear completely as BA won’t have enough slots to move them all to Heathrow. 

Of course, this could just be posturing from BA, which when reality dawns as they cancel a number of routes, may provoke BALPA to have a rethink. 

A BA spokesman told The Telgraph: “We’re disappointed that our plans for a new short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick have not received Balpa’s support. After many years of losing money on European flights from the airport, we were clear that coming out of the pandemic, we needed a plan to make Gatwick profitable and competitive.

“With regret, we will now suspend our short-haul operations at Gatwick, with the exception of a small number of domestic services connecting to our long-haul operation, and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots.”

According to travel data and analytics expert Cirium:

British Airways Gatwick Short-Haul Overview

  • British Airways have a schedule of 47 short-haul routes from Gatwick
  • However, their short-haul operations at Gatwick have been on hold since Spring 2020 due to Covid-19
  • If BA pull out of short-haul at the airport, 4 destinations will no longer have any service to Gatwick; Algiers, Cologne/Bonn, Genoa, and Manchester.

In the peak summer month of July 2022

  • BA are currently scheduled to be the second largest airline at Gatwick, behind easyJet
  • BA have 1,881 short-haul flights scheduled from LGW, with 331,009 seats available
  • The largest destination by flights is Jersey, followed by Malaga in Spain and Faro in Portugal.

Hopefully, most booked flights will be transferred to Heathrow, but I can’t see this lasting past 2022 as travel recovers. Something will have to give whether its routes or frequencies. 

5 Comments on "BREAKING NEWS: British Airways abandons Gatwick short haul as negotiation with BALPA collapses"

  1. I always wonder why, if the LGW short haul operation was so unprofitable it was sustained for so many years. It seems a bizarre thing to have done for an airline that was hell bent on reducing the cost of everything and downgrading service with it to have run LGW as some sort of charity case. Anyway, perhaps now they can rid themselves of the ex-Wizz Air G-GAT* A320s and the horrible row one layout which is just like easyJet – and I’m sure that between the latter and Wizz the LGW slots will be filled unless we are to see an incarnation of Vueling arrive.

  2. “and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots”

    Have BALPA played into IAG’s hand?

    • I think they will have caused a lot of redundancies by working away. Can’t imagine pilots are going to be very popular with those that lose their jobs. It’s not the time to play hardball in my opinion.

  3. I assume the BA flights from Gatwick to the Caribbean are unaffected by this. Also we have a flight/hotel from Gatwick to Gran Canaria booked for Easter 2022, in the app our booking all shows as normal, but if you try and book new there is no flight and nothing direct from Heathrow either, I have DM’d. BA and await to hear.

  4. Glad i am moving away from BA

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