Posted on 19/11/2021

#Aircraft #United Kingdom

British Airways launches short-haul airline in Gatwick

British Airways launches short-haul airline - Nieuwland Photography / Shutterstock

British Airways is set to launch its new short-haul airline at Gatwick after the company reached an agreement with the trade union over pay and conditions for the crew.

British Airways is on the verge of announcing the relaunching of Gatwick's short-haul service after a union deal was reached earlier last week, according to a report from The Daily Mail. The airline is said to target March 2022 to begin its short-haul flights in the London airport.

BA finalised negotiations with the Unite Union, one of the company's staunchest critics since the beginning of the pandemic, which represents more than 10,000 of the airline's cabin crew as well as engineers and ground staff. This represented the last hurdle in the way of launching the new airline.

In an internal update to staff last Friday, Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive said: "Our plans for a new BA-branded subsidiary to fly short-haul at Gatwick are progressing well, having received support this week from Unite. While we still have some further negotiations to sort, it looks likely that we will be up and running to fly the summer schedule."

Sources say that around 160 pilots and several hundred cabin crew could be hired for the new airline, which will use up to 17 planes for its short-haul European flights.

Negotiations with Unite Union took a long time and it is understood that BA focused on pay and flying schedules to make sure employees of the new company would earn as much as staff in other services of British Airways

Back in September, the company decided to abandon its plans for a short-haul subsidiary after pilots refused to agree to a deal reached between the airline and the union. At the time, British Airways explained that it would only relaunch short-haul services if it could lower its cost base.

At the time, a BA spokesperson said: ?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.?