British Airways has resumed international short-haul flights from Gatwick Airport after a two-year hiatus, with its first flight to Larnaca departing at 06:25 today (Tuesday 29 March).
As a consequence of the Covid-19 epidemic, the airline halted operations in Europe at Gatwick Airport, relocating a handful of flights to Heathrow. Today is a watershed moment in the airline’s comeback as it resumes short-haul international flights from the airport.
Services will begin under the British Airways Air Operators Certificate (AOC), before transitioning to BA Euroflyer*, a new British Airways branded subsidiary later this year. The new airline will operate in the same way as British Airways’ current subsidiary BA Cityflyer does, flying under the British Airways name and providing a premium British Airways product.
British Airways will fly to Larnaca, Amsterdam, Paphos, and Tenerife on the first day of service. Customers will be able to travel to 35 different locations from Gatwick before more are added later this year.
The return of British Airways to Gatwick has not only given consumers additional options, but it has also helped to generate employment, as the carrier launched a cabin crew and pilot recruiting drive to staff its new subsidiary.
“Today represents a huge milestone for British Airways as we run our first European flights from Gatwick in two years,” said Tom Stoddart, Acting CEO of British Airways Euroflyer.
“I’m quite happy of what we’ve built at Gatwick; we have a fantastic staff with a lot of fresh and interesting talent.” I’m excited to see our newest subsidiary expand, offering more flights and giving consumers additional alternatives to travel with British Airways.”
“I was overjoyed when I found out that I had been approved as crew for British Airways; it is my dream job!” remarked Millar Smith, a member of the British Airways Euroflyer Crew. Prior to this, I worked for the London Ambulance Service as a 999 handler, which came in handy during my airline training. The fact that British Airways is a high-end British airline piqued my interest in the position. I can’t wait to go to Tenerife for my first assignment!”
Customers flying on British Airways’ new subsidiary will receive the same high level of service they expect from the UK’s flag carrier, as well as the benefits of flying with the UK’s flag carrier, such as a generous baggage allowance, free water and snacks, free seat selection at -24 hours, and frequent flyer benefits such as lounge access.
A Club Europe cabin will be available on all of the airline’s routes, distinguishing it from its budget rivals. Customers who book this cabin will get a premium check-in experience, access to private lounges, and a free gourmet dinner and drink service onboard.
Customers in the airline’s Euro Traveller cabin will be able to buy ambient items and beverages aboard through their mobile phone, including fresh selections from Tom Kerridge as part of the airline’s ‘Speedbird Café’ menu.
The reintroduction of European short-haul flights from Gatwick comes only one day after the carrier reopened at Gatwick South Terminal. To commemorate the event, the airline unveiled its new World Traveller Plus check-in zone, which is accessible to passengers going on the company’s long-haul flights. The new check-in zone, which is located next to the airline’s Club World desks, provides a unique check-in experience for passengers travelling in the airline’s World Traveller Plus cabin. Heathrow will be the first to get them, with the rest of British Airways’ network following soon after.
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