British Airways has confirmed plans to launch a new budget operation at Gatwick with flights starting in March.
It will use the British Airways name but exist as an “entirely separate entity”.
Some 35 destinations will be on offer 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 agreements on pay and working conditions with pilots and cabin crew in relation to the new subsidiary.
The operation will be similar to that of BA CityFlyer, the airline’s subsidiary based at London City airport.
It will initially be run by British Airways, starting with three Airbus short-haul planes before ramping up to 18 aircraft by the end of May ahead of the summer.
By autumn 2022 flights will be managed separately under the BA Euroflyer name, but the brand name will remain British Airways.
Passengers are being promised they will receive “the same high level of service they expect of British Airways”, including free water and snacks, a “generous” baggage allowance, free seat selection within 24 hours before departure and frequent flyer benefits.
The vast majority of British Airways’ short-haul flights from Gatwick have been suspended since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company previously said the flights were loss-making even before the virus crisis, and they would only restart if there was “a competitive and sustainable operating cost base”.
Sean Doyle, BA chief executive, said: “The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organisation means Gatwick customers will benefit from access to a premium service from the UK’s flag carrier at competitive prices.
“We are looking forward to bringing a short-haul network back to Gatwick, with a fantastic flying team in place, to serve our customers from London’s second hub airport, which we feel sure will be a success.”
Gatwick is usually the UK’s second busiest airport, but has been hit hard by the pandemic.
Just 4.6m passengers travelled through it in the 12 months to October, a tenth of the 2019 total.
Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingat,e said: “This significant news will be very welcome for many people connected to the airport.
“Despite the ongoing public health situation, today’s announcement is a positive signal that consumer confidence is returning as people start thinking about making travel plans for next summer.
“Given the difficult period we have all just been through, we expect BA’s new and extensive network of 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 passengers back in larger numbers from April next year.”
British Airways launches budget flights from Gatwick appeared first on maserietv.com.