British Airways targets summer 2022 for Gatwick short-haul operation

British Airways says it hopes to relaunch a short-haul operation from Gatwick by summer 2022 after concluding talks with pilots union Balpa.

The UK’s national flag carrier planned to launch a new short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick after flights were mothballed due to the pandemic – but the scheme was later shelved following opposition from pilots over proposed new rates of pay.

BA had confirmed earlier this week that it was in “constructive” talks with Balpa to see whether pilots were prepared to back updated plans after the airline started seeking alternative options for the use of its runway slots at the UK’s second largest airport.

The talks with Balpa have now concluded, with both sides positive about the outcome.

A British Airways spokesman said: “We will now further develop our proposal to provide a full-service short-haul subsidiary operation at Gatwick, offering competitive fares to our customers.

“We will continue discussions with our colleagues, trade unions, suppliers and other stakeholders, following this positive result, and if we can agree a way forward with all parties, we would hope to begin operations next summer.”

Balpa said “an important new agreement” covering revised pay and working hours for British Airways pilots at Gatwick had been reached.

Acting general secretary Martin Chalk said: “This agreement is now BA’s preferred option in relation to the future of short-haul operations at Gatwick.

“We understand BA is continuing its discussions with other stakeholders with a view to relaunching operations next summer. We expect BA to reach a final decision shortly.”

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