After appearing to throw in the towel, British Airways is again considering a new budget carrier for shorthaul flights out of London Gatwick after a new vote from pilots backed it plan.
New British Airways Budget Carrier Back On The Table In London Gatwick After Pilots Back Proposal
Earlier this year, British Airways revealed plans for a new budget carrier to compete with EasyJet out of Gatwick and other budget carriers serving London. Even before the pandemic, BA claimed it lost money on Gatwick shorthaul routes. While the new carrier would still have British Airways livery and not look different onboard, cabin staff including flight attendants and pilots would be paid less, the impetus behind the new subsidiary.
But pilots, represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), were unable to reach a deal with BA over pay rates and other labor issues. BA’s plan was to pay EasyJet wages in order to compete and pilots said no way.
At the time, BALPA left open the door for future negotiations, stating:
“We are disappointed that we couldn’t come to arrangements that were acceptable to our members. We stand ready to work with BA to find such arrangements that could be acceptable.”
While British Airways appeared to throw in the towel, talks continued and an agreement has now been reached. Details have not been revealed.
The backing of pilots does not mean that the new carrier will come to fruition. British Airways must still secure the backing of flight attendants and all options remain on the table, including selling some of the slots and keeping Gatwick an airport focused on leisure longhaul destinations with a small number of domestic feeder flights.
British Airways’ plan for a new budget carrier based in London Gatwick is back on the table after pilots backed the plan in a new vote. As demand returns, BA must now decide how it will proceed at LGW.
image: British Airways