British Airways (BA) is moving forward with its new short-haul unit at London Gatwick (LGW), announcing initial destinations from March 2022.  

BA suspended short-haul flying from LGW in spring 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It then entered talks with pilot representatives seeking a way to make the operation more cost-effective and better able to challenge low-cost rivals.   

The British flag carrier said the Gatwick operation would be similar to its London City Airport (LCY) unit, which operates under the British Airways name but is a separate entity.  

“The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organisation means Gatwick customers will benefit from access to a premium service from the UK’s flag carrier at competitive prices,” BA chief executive Sean Doyle said in a statement on December 14, 2021. 

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Until the new Gatwick unit has its own air operator’s certificate (AOC) and launches later in 2022, short-haul services at LGW will be operated by the mainline BA unit.  

“BA short-haul flights will start operating from Gatwick at the end of March, with three Airbus short-haul aircraft initially, ramping up to 18 aircraft by the end of May,” the airline explained.  

BA moved some short-haul routes to London Heathrow (LHR) during the pandemic. Some of these will return to LGW, but also be maintained at LHR, including Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Marrakech and Tenerife.  

The airline also announced additional routes from LGW, including Athens, Berlin, Madrid, Milan Malpensa and Santorini.  

“Despite the ongoing public health situation, today’s announcement is a positive signal that consumer confidence is returning as people start thinking about making travel plans for next summer,” Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate commented. 

BA said tickets will go on sale from December 14, with ticket prices starting from £39 ($51.66) each way.