AS the UK furlough programme comes to an end in September British Airways confirms that it is planning a new low cost subsidiary to run out of Gatwick Airport.
Although supposedly not for public information, a leaked letter seen by the PA News Agency gave details of its plans to return to the cheaper end of the market to compete with the likes of easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz.
At one time, Gatwick (which is due to install a second runway) was a major hub for BA and its European short haul flights, but since the pandemic the majority of flights still running, operate out of Heathrow.
There is a long way to go before BA, part of IAG (which also runs two low cost airlines in Spain, Iberia Express and Vueling), is able to get things moving as it has to agree terms with staff and pilot unions.
Based on past experience, the unions may well worry that one way of keeping costs down will be to reduce wages if they are transferring staff from BA ‘proper’ although there will no doubt be plenty of aircraft in the BA fleet which are currently parked up in airport holding areas around the world.
Having tried this before with Go (which it sold after just three years) the new venture is due to start in 2022 and its success will depend upon the recovery from the pandemic and the hoped-for demand for cheap European flights.
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