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BA considers ending short-haul business-class Gatwick services

British Airways could be on the verge of ending short-haul business-class travel on flights from Gatwick.

Speaking following the release of the airline’s third-quarter results, chief executive Willie Walsh said the market for business-class seats was suffering as companies continued to cut travel budgets and opted for seats in economy class or with no-frills airlines.

He added: “Short-haul premium will never recover. That part of the business has changed for ever and we have to address it.”

Any changes to the service would not affect Heathrow, where Walsh has pledged to keep business class, but are more likely to be targeted at Gatwick where he said last July the service was always under review.

The news comes following last week’s announcement that the airline made a pre-tax loss of £50 million for the three months to the end of December 2009. The loss was not as bad as predicted and was an improvement on the same quarter in the previous year when the airline lost £122 million.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Times has reported Qantas is planning to strip out two-thirds of its first-class seats, leading to an increase of up to 20% in economy seating.

Although the plan has yet to be confirmed, it is thought Qantas would retain a first-class cabin on its London-Los Angeles service.

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