British Airways flights from London/Gatwick Airport to European destinations are back after a two-year hiatus.
Today’s international short-haul trips to Larnaca, Amsterdam, Paphos and Tenerife launched the return to the West Sussex, UK hub, with more promised in coming weeks. The flights resumed just two day’s after Gatwick’s South Terminal reopened to passengers as the summer season ramps up.
Services will initially operate under the flag carrier’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC), before moving to a new British Airways-branded subsidiary “BA Euroflyer” later in the year. In a similar manner to London City Airport-based subsidiary BA CityFlyer, it will run under the British Airways brand but as a standalone subsidiary that has created new cabin crew and pilot jobs.
Tom Stoddart, acting CEO British Airways Euroflyer, said “Today marks a significant milestone for British Airways as we operate our first European services from Gatwick in two years. I am really proud of what we have created at Gatwick, we have an excellent team with lots of new and exciting talent. I am looking forward to see our newest subsidiary grow, adding new routes and providing customers with more options to get away on holiday with a premium British Airways service.”
Millar Smith, British Airways Euroflyer crew member, said: “I was over the moon when I found out that I had been accepted as crew for British Airways, it is my dream job. Before this I worked as a 999 handler for the London Ambulance Service, which has been incredibly useful throughout my training with the airline. My first service will be to Tenerife and I can’t wait!”
All of the airline’s services will have a Club Europe (business class) cabin with access to premium check-in, exclusive lounges and a complimentary gourmet meal and bar service on board. Euro Traveller (economy) passengers can purchase food before travel or order onboard via their mobile phone.
The return to LGW allowed the carrier to highlight its new dedicated World Traveller Plus check-in zone for its long-haul passengers. Sitting alongside BA’s Club World desks, the airline said it gives those travelling in its World Traveller Plus cabin (premium economy) an exclusive check-in experience. They will shortly be rolled out at Heathrow, followed by the rest of the British Airways network.
All BA flights from Gatwick stopped in spring 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to devastate aviation schedules worldwide. Back in December, British Airways revealed that three Airbus A320 Family narrowbodies would be based at Gatwick at first before sharply rising to 18 by the end of May.
Last year, Gatwick handled 6.3 million passengers, down from 10.2 million who passed through its doors in 2020. Statistics released for 2020 showed the numbers equated to 76,400 aircraft movements and 14.7 million seats, particularly in the months before the onset of COVID-19. In stark contrast, the airport’s pre-pandemic records saw 46.6 million travellers during 2019 (from 280,700 movements and 53.9 million seats), which cemented its place as the UK’s second busiest hub after neighbouring London/Heathrow.