The future of BA’s Jersey to Gatwick route is up in the air after pilots shot down a plan to set up a low-cost hub at the London airport.
The airline stopped offering the link between Jersey and Gatwick when it moved its main hub to Heathrow as a result of the pandemic’s impact on revenues, but hinted that it may return in future.
However, BA said it would only be possible to resume Gatwick services if it could find a way to rival easyJet, which accounts for the majority of activity there.
Plans to lower its cost base to make way for a BA-branded short-haul subsidiary with up to 17 planes based at the airport included examining staff terms and conditions.
But BALPA – the pilots union – was unable to agree to these and decided to drop the ballot that would be needed to ratify the deal.
Pictured: Only easyJet operates the popular Jersey-Gatwick route currently.
It wanted pilots operating from Gatwick to automatically receive any pay rises negotiated by Heathrow crews, but BA did not agree to make this legally binding, according to trade publication Head for Points.
BA has now suspended nearly all of its short-haul routes. Express asked the airline whether this meant a return of the Jersey route was now officially off the cards.
It did not respond to the question, but said in a statement: “We're disappointed that our plans for a new short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick have not received BALPA's support.
“After many years of losing money on European flights from the airport, we were clear that coming out of the pandemic, we needed a plan to make Gatwick profitable and competitive.
“With regret, we will now suspend our short-haul operations at Gatwick, with the exception of a small number of domestic services connecting to our long-haul operation, and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots.”
The suggestion of a slot sale may pique the interest of low-cost airline Wizz Air, which has operated some flights out of Jersey, previously stated its interest in boosting its Gatwick presence.
For now, the online airline operating the popular Jersey-Gatwick route is easyJet. Over the winter 2021/22 period, they are scheduled to fly there seven days a week.
Meanwhile, BA will continue to operate daily services between Jersey and Heathrow until at least the end of March 2022.
Pictured top: A BA plane. (Nick Morrish/BA)
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