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5 JULY 2021

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Article from BTNews 5 JULY 2021

Gatwick and British Airways

According to The Telegraph, British Airways is reviewing its Gatwick (LGW) operation. 

During the Willie Walsh era it has also retreated from Birmingham and Manchester operations and if LGW were to go its only non-Heathrow base would be the British Airways City Flyer (BACF) franchise at London City Airport.

As things stand it looks like BA will continue to operate most of its short-haul flights from Heathrow T5 until the end of the summer season 30 October.  Caribbean long-haul flights continue from Gatwick.

The Telegraph reported that BA was reviving plans to abandon Britain’s second-biggest airport, in favour of focusing on its Heathrow operations. The review reportedly followed instructions from International Airlines Group (IAG), BA’s FTSE 100 parent company, over concerns that BA could lose its lucrative take-off and landing slots at Heathrow if not used, the newspaper reported.

BA suspended flights from the airport at the end of April 2020.

Given the Covid-19 travel restrictions, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has issued a waiver of the “use-it-or-lose-it” rules for Heathrow take-off and landing slots. However, if this was not extended, BA may need to focus on Heathrow’s more valuable slots to avoid losing them, the report said.

The Telegraph pointed out that: “Given Heathrow’s popularity, take-off and landing slots are highly sought after and can be traded by airlines for tens of millions of pounds”.  Whether it is wishful thinking remains to be seen as at least three new airlines have arrived at Heathrow over the summer, plus Loganair, the Scottish air carrier known to be prudent with its operations.

The British flag carrier currently holds just over 50% of the slots at Heathrow with Lufthansa (5%), Virgin Atlantic (4%), Aer Lingus (3%), American Airlines and United Airlines (both 3%), SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss, and Air Canada (all 2%), and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (1%), according to the International Bureau of Aviation (IBA).

www.gatwickairport.com

www.iba.aero

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