British Airways is looking at creating a new subsidiary for its short-haul operations at Gatwick.
The airline, which is part of International Airlines Group (IAG), could use the move to lower its cost base to try to compete with low-cost carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair on short-haul routes, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
A BA spokesperson confirmed: “We are working with our unions on proposals for a short-haul operation at Gatwick. We are not prepared to comment further while this process continues.”
Securing agreement with its unions is seen as crucial to the proposal going forward.
Martin Chalk, acting general secretary of pilots union Balpa, said: “Balpa cautiously welcomes this decision to restart BA short-haul operations at Gatwick and create a number of much-needed new pilot jobs.
“Balpa and BA are in the final stages of negotiations over the revised pay and conditions for Gatwick-based BA pilots, and we hope to bring these talks to a conclusion shortly.”
The airline moved its short-haul flights from Gatwick to Heathrow at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year in a bid to consolidate operations as traffic levels slumped due to lockdowns in the UK and around the world.