British Airways (BA) is expected to go ahead with its plans to operate a short-haul subsidiary from Gatwick following accords with trade unions.
Luis Gallego, chief executive of BA’s owner IAG, told Bloomberg Television that agreements were reached with pilots and flight attendants, leaving the company to negotiate only with ground staff – a secure enough position to announce the plans.
“If we can close all of that we will start flying from Gatwick in March 2022,” he told the outlet. IAG’s announcement comes a week after BA’s chief executive Sean Doyle told colleagues that plans were progressing after receiving support from the union Unite.
“While we still have some further negotiations to sort, it looks likely that we will be up and running to fly the summer schedule,” he said.
BA’s plans for Gatwick recently made the headlines when the company received the green light from the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa).
“Balpa and British Airways have concluded an important new agreement covering revised pay and working hours for British Airways pilots operating short-haul operations at Gatwick,” said the union’s acting general secretary Martin Chalk on 7 October. “This agreement is now BA’s preferred option in relation to the future of short-haul operations at Gatwick.”
Balpa initially shot down BA’s Gatwick plans, with members motivating their decision in terms of not being able to reach a satisfactory compromise with the carrier, City A.M. previously reported.
The union was then forced to go back to the negotiating table, after the airline decided to scrap most of its Gatwick operations. “While we have been actively pursuing alternative uses for our slots, last week Balpa asked us to resume discussions,” said a BA spokesperson on 4 October.