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British Airways drops short-haul Gatwick plan

British Airways has axed plans to revive short-haul services from Gatwick after the airline mothballed them during the pandemic, say reports.

The carrier had planned to launch a short-haul subsidiary at the airport but it has failed to reach an agreement with pilots’ union Balpa, said Sky News.

A spokeswoman for the airline told the broadcaster that BA was “disappointed” it could not secure a deal with the trade union.

She said: “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.

“With regret, we will now suspend our short-haul operations at Gatwick, with the exception of a small number of domestic services connecting to our long-haul operation, and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots.”

Sky reported that the airline’s chief operating officer Jason Mahoney told staff that the terms offered to Balpa were “the best that could be achieved in order to create a viable and sustainable operation at London Gatwick”.

Martin Chalk, Balpa acting general secretary, said: “Despite our best efforts Balpa was unable to reach an agreement with British Airways on revised terms and conditions for London Gatwick (LGW) Short-haul, that was acceptable to our members.

“The company has informed us it is now pulling out of LGW short-haul and is considering what to do with its LGW slots.

“Balpa remains open to future negotiations with British Airways to address our members’ concerns with the proposal for LGW short-haul or about any other part of the business.”

Last month, BA confirmed it was working with unions on proposals for a short-haul operation from the Sussex airport.

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