British Airways has revealed the initial destinations for its new Gatwick subsidiary, which will start flying from March 2022. Tickets to 35 short-haul destinations will also be on sale from Tuesday 14 December.
The airline announced its intention to create a short-haul standalone business at Gatwick in August, similar to its operation from London City Airport, which operates under the British Airways name but exists as an entirely separate entity. The offshoot will launch later in 2022, with short-haul services at Gatwick being operated by mainline BA until the new entities’ Air Operators Certificate is issued. BA short-haul flights will start operating from Gatwick at the end of March, with three Airbus short-haul aircraft initially, ramping ramp up to 18 aircraft by the end of May.
The subsidiary will herald the airline’s return to short-haul flying from the London airport, which had been suspended as a result of Covid-19 in Spring 2020. During the pandemic, several routes were moved to Heathrow airport, some of which will return to Gatwick, as well as being maintained at Heathrow to give customers choice, including Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Marrakech and Tenerife. In addition, other new routes will be added at Gatwick including Athens, Berlin, Madrid, Milan Malpensa and Santorini.
The new services will be branded and known as British Airways. Customers will receive the same high level of service they expect of British Airways as well as enjoying the benefits of travelling with the UK’s flag carrier including a generous baggage allowance, free water and snacks, free seat selection at -24 hours and frequent flyer benefits which include lounge access.
Club Europe customers will also receive complimentary food and drink and Euro Traveller customers who want to order additional food will benefit from access to the airline’s ‘Speedbird Café’, which features a selection of products from a range of carefully selected British brands.
Tickets, which will go on sale at ba.com today, and start from £39* each way with fares competitive with those of Gatwick no-frills carriers. British Airways Holidays also has a number of packages to these destinations, starting from £119.** The airline will continue to prioritise flying to and from the most convenient destinations across Europe.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “Today is a landmark moment for British Airways. 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.”
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, 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.”
Credit: British Airways