British Airways (BA) is pressing forward with the launch of its new short-haul unit at London Gatwick (LGW), with the first destinations set to begin in March 2022.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BA canceled short-haul flights from LGW in spring 2020. It then met with pilot representatives to discuss ways to make the operation more cost-effective and competitive with low-cost competitors.
The Gatwick operation will be analogous to British Airways’ London City Airport (LCY) unit, which is a separate entity but runs under the British Airways name.
“The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organization means Gatwick customers will benefit from access to a premium service from the UK’s flag carrier at competitive prices,” BA chief executive Sean Doyle said in a statement on December 14, 2021.
Short-haul services at LGW will be operated by the mainline BA unit until the new Gatwick unit has its own air operator’s certificate (AOC) and debuts later in 2022.
“BA short-haul flights will start operating from Gatwick at the end of March, with three Airbus short-haul aircraft initially, ramping up to 18 aircraft by the end of May,” the airline explained.
During the epidemic, BA relocated certain short-haul routes to London Heathrow (LHR). Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Marrakech, and Tenerife will all return to LGW, but will also be maintained at LHR.
Additional routes from LGW include Athens, Berlin, Madrid, Milan Malpensa, and Santorini, according to the airline.
“Despite the ongoing public health situation, today’s announcement is a positive signal that consumer confidence is returning as people start thinking about making travel plans for next summer,” Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate commented.
Tickets will go on sale on December 14, with costs starting at £39 ($51.66) each way, according to BA.