British Airways on Thursday said it has begun talks with its unions over proposals for a dedicated short-haul operation at London Gatwick Airport (LGW), confirming a report published in the Wall Street Journal. The carrier, which operates as part of the International Airlines Group, would offer no further comment during the process.
The British Airline Pilots Association confirmed that talks over employment terms for the planned new operation have started. “BALPA cautiously welcomes the decision to restart BA short-haul operations at LGW and create a number of much-needed new pilot jobs,” commented acting general secretary Martin Chalk.
In April 2020, BA announced plans to cut more than 1,100 pilots from its payroll and make large cuts to its Gatwick operation as part of a wider plan to respond to a serious loss of income resulting from the Covid pandemic. The reduction of Gatwick operations also resulted in large job losses among BA cabin crew, ground staff, and the wider airport workforce. Not all the jobs immediately evaporated because a government-backed furlough program due to expire in October covers some staff.
The confirmation of BA’s planned new operation comes a day after Gatwick said that public consultation will start on September 9 over plans to add capacity by allowing routine use of its existing northern runway alongside its main runway. According to a statement issued Wednesday, the airport’s plan calls for repositioning the northern runway’s centerline further north by 12 meters (40 feet) for departing aircraft.