BA to expand premium leisure offering from Gatwick

The trade is set to grab more premium leisure business out of Gatwick as British Airways looks to expand there.

The airline has praised the aiport for recent improvements and the work of its cabin crew who have not joined Unite strike action.

Speaking in Cancun after the launch of BA’s service to the Mexican resort earlier this month, head of consumer sales Simon Brooks said: “You will see more announcements about Gatwick. We are committed to the airport and reviewing the possibilities.”

The airport’s change of ownership in 2009 and revamped work practices among Gatwick cabin crew, who worked through the strikes unlike colleagues at Heathrow, have led to a new lease of life for BA’s Gatwick operation.

Brooks said: “Gatwick has done a fantastic job for us. We’ve got the costs to a level where we can really make premium leisure work; the new owner is investing in NorthTerminal; and [BA boss] Willie Walsh has spoken of his admiration for our cabin crew at the airport.”

BA is looking at fresh destinations in the Caribbean – it will launch to Puerto Rico next spring – the Middle East and beyond. The key would be
the quality of hotel product as the carrier focuses on premium leisure passengers, said Brooks, adding: “Cancun has been transformed over the last 10 years with quality hotels.”

The carrier took a party of 18 retailers and tour operators to Cancun this week and plans two more trips to the destination before the end of the year. Brooks said: “The trade is integral to our strategy at Gatwick.”

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