Earlier this week, British national flag carrier British Airways announced that it plans to return short-haul flying from London’s second-biggest airport, London Gatwick. Gatwick has lost a lot of travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they should be pleased to know that BA is scheduled to start short-haul flights again in March of the new year. This will be done using its new subsidiary airline, BA euroflyer.
What happened to the short-haul flights in the first place?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, British airways just wasn’t receiving enough demand to be operating short-haul flights from London Gatwick, as it owns a full terminal at Heathrow. This meant that they decided to only operate long-haul flights from the Sussex airport. In London, you generally get traditional airlines using Heathrow as it is very expensive to operate and to fly there. This means that Low-Cost carriers are found at all of the other London airports apart from London-City. Ryanair and EasyJet are the two most common airlines to see at Gatwick, and so they play large competition against traditional airlines wanting to operate short-haul flights there.
Flights from Gatwick will firstly be operated by British Airways, but the airline wants to give flights to its new subsidiary by the end of next year. The airline says that flights to 35 destinations should resume next year, starting with a fleet of 3 airbus planes, and moving to 18 near the end of May. Fairs are said to start from £39 ($51.5) as the airline is trying to keep vaguely in line with the low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet, but we can still consider these flights as quite highly-priced seen as Ryanair offers flights for just £9.99. This is now starting to play against not only the aviation industry but the trains industry, as well as Eurostar, which operates train services across the channel for a similar price.
As the aviation industry is recovering, we are seeing more and more airlines opening up more flights; but the real question is: Will the spread of the new Omicron variant make this not possible? As lockdown is inching closer to the UK, the aviation industry could take a massive blow and be back where it started. I think that this is good news for BA, but they should be worried about what the future has in store for travel.