British Airways is looking to double its operations out of London Gatwick Airport (LGW), growing the number of aircraft based there. As disputes with Heathrow (LHR) on multiple issues continue, the flag carrier is taking some of its business to London’s second-largest airport instead. Here’s more on the potential change.

Gatwick at the center

According to The Telegraph, British Airways will increase the number of planes based in Gatwick from 14 currently to 24-28 in the next few years. This will allow for a sizeable increase in the airline’s presence and take some routes away from Terminal 5 at London Heathrow as well. One source inside the airline made its plans clear, saying,

“Our growth will be at Gatwick rather than Heathrow for now.”

British Airways Airbus A319

Photo: Getty Images

Indeed, Heathrow and British Airways have been at odds on a number of issues recently. For one, the carrier opposes LHR’s proposal to increase passenger fees from £30 ($36.2) to £42 per landing ($50.8), despite the Civil Aviation Authority’s push for a reduction to £26 ($31.45).

While airport leaders argue the higher fees are to ensure upgraded and smooth facilities, British Airways argues it is to line shareholder pockets at the cost of travelers. This summer’s travel chaos, which saw Heathrow cap daily passengers and force airlines to cut flights, has also left a negative impression of Heathrow for passengers and airlines. Given all of this, BA is making it clear that it will focus its capacity somewhere else if need be.

Gatwick at the center

British Airways is no stranger to London Gatwick, having only left for two years due to COVID. Now, the carrier is back in full force, with its own operations and a newly-opened subsidiary, EuroFlyer. With IAG partners Iberia and Vueling, the group is one of the largest operators out of the Sussex-based airport.

Now, the carrier could be eying an even larger presence at the single-runway hub. With up to 28 aircraft, we could see more long-haul routes crop up over the summer. While the current network is restricted to a few US cities, such as New York JFK, Orlando, and Las Vegas, British Airways could choose to add some year-long dense routes to the mix as well.

British Airways Boeing 777-336(ER) G-STBA

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

However, the success of EuroFlyer could mean British Airways opts for a short-haul expansion to challenge the likes of easyJet, which dominates Gatwick’s traffic currently. With a massive Boeing 737 MAX order on the way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some jets placed here in the future.

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Winter traffic coming

The first big test for Heathrow and Gatwick after this summer will be handling the rush of travelers seen around Christmas time. With winter demand looking to break pre-pandemic records, it is to be seen if airport’s have learnt their lesson and will be able to cope. While Heathrow has hinted the caps could return, this would be an unpopular choice and one of last resort for the airport.

What do you think about British Airways’ plans to expand at London Gatwick? Let us know in the comments!

Source: The Telegraph

  • British Airways, Cabin Crew Training, Customer Service

    British Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    BA/BAW

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport

    Year Founded:
    1974

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    Airline Group:
    IAG

    CEO:
    Sean Doyle

    Country:
    United Kingdom

  • GATWICK Airport

    London Gatwick Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    LGW/EGKK

    Country:
    United Kingdom

    CEO:
    Stewart Wingate

    Passenger Count :
    6,260,000 (2021)

    Runways :
    08L/26R – 2,565m (8,415ft) |08R/26L – 3,316m (10,879ft)

    Terminals:
    North Terminal |South Terminal

  • heathrow_17581988126223

    London Heathrow Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    LHR-EGLL

    Country:
    United Kingdom

    CEO:
    John Holland-Kaye

    Passenger Count :
    19,392,178 (2021)

    Runways :
    09L/27R – 3,902m (12,802ft) |09R/27L – 3,660m (12,008ft)

    Terminals:
    Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 4 |Terminal 5

Source: simpleflying.com

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