British Airways is considering reopening the Gatwick hub
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), which is part of British Airways employees, has confirmed that it is in talks with the British carrier about setting up a seasonal subsidiary at Gatwick Airport. "Talks with British Airways are at an early stage and, to avoid unnecessary speculation, it would not be inappropriate to comment at this stage.", the Union said in a statement on August 26.
BA's reasoning seems to be to gain a stronger position in the leisure markets, amid the slow recovery of business travel that was extremely profitable before the pandemic. In order to do this at Gatwick on intra-European routes and short-haul routes, it would have to fight low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Wizz Air, which tend to have lower unit costs than network rivals.
The British flag carrier has not operated short-haul services from Gatwick since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The British flag carrier has not operated short-haul services from Gatwick since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite having numerous slots rented at the airport. Towards the end of 2020, it restarted some of its services - which it operated from Gatwick Airport - from its Heathrow Airport hub. According to the plans then announced by the company, it was to resume short-term operations at Gatwick in December 2020. This decision was subsequently postponed until November 2021.
Cirium data show that in the pre-Covid period, BA operated 47 short-haul routes from Gatwick. For the summer of 2022, BA's most popular destinations, with flights from Gatwick, are scheduled to be Jersey, followed by Malaga (in Spain) and Faro (in Portugal). While its short-haul flights were suspended from Gatwick, BA continued to operate a small number of long-haul leisure routes.