BRITISH Airways (BA) has announced plans to switch many of its short-haul flights from Gatwick to Heathrow Airport next month as part of a compulsory restructuring plan brought about by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
During the recent pandemic, global flights ground to a halt as most countries closed their airports and airlines stopped flying. Over recent weeks, flights have resumed but passenger volumes are low and most airlines are facing severe financial; problems, which may force many of them out of business.
To overcome the huge losses they have chalked up, most airlines are having to restructure their operations and as part of this process, BA has decided to move a lot of its short haul flights from Gatwick to Heathrow. Passengers booked on the affected flights, as well as BA flight crew employed at Gatwick are currently being informed of the move.
BA has already warned that it may abandon Gatwick permanently, or drastically cut its operations there in response to the crisis. For three decades, Gatwick has been the base for BA’s leisure-focused routes, including Mediterranean, Caribbean, Latin American and Indian Ocean destinations.
However, BA has a majority of the slots at Heathrow airport but for the rest of the summer season, which ends in October, it will use only a fraction of them for a much-reduced international network. Flights to Barbados, Bermuda and Dubrovnik routes are still shown as departing from Gatwick but long haul flights to destinations like Nigeria will still leave from Heathrow.
BA hopes that the move will help cut costs by increasing the efficiency of the operation at its main base, Heathrow. By consolidating its operations at Heathrow, a daytime holiday flight to the Mediterranean can be slotted in between early and late business-focused trips, making better use of aircraft and crew.