BA warns it may pull out of Gatwick for good – 25% of its pilots’ jobs at stake

©Gatwick Airport

British Airways, the U.K flag. carrying airline and part of IAG, has written to its staff at its Gatwick, London hub advising them that having shut down all operations at the beginning of April this year owing to the impact of the COVID-19 , it may choose not to reopen there.

The letter was sent out the day after IAG had announced plans to reduce the carrier’s current workforce of 42,000 by approaching 30%. Gatwick represents approximately 20% of BA’s operations, while the carrier also operated out of London City Airport until all flights from there were suspended, a week earlier than Gatwick operations.

A separate memo was sent out by BA to all its pilots warning that it intends to reduce their number, currently approximately 4,300, by 25% and confirming that as opposed to delivering any enhanced voluntary redundancy program which would be too costly, it would only meet the minimum statutory obligations. In the memo, Al Bridger, BA’s director of flight operations, wrote: “We are now at a critical juncture and must table proposals for structural change so that our business is in a credible position to respond to what will be a challenging and uncertain trading environment for a sustained period of time.”

The next area for consideration with regard to flights to and from London will be the proposed third runway at Heathrow airport. With BA believing that it will be “several years” before there was even a return to 2019 passenger levels, it is likely that any plans for the creation of a third runway will, at least, be postponed for several years as well.

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