British Airways might abandon Gatwick, for Heathrow, if 80% slot…

british-airways-might-abandon-gatwick,-for-heathrow,-if-80%-slot…

British Airways might abandon Gatwick, for Heathrow, if 80% slot…

British Airways might abandon Gatwick, for Heathrow, if 80% slot use rules are reinstated
2021-06-20 11:29:00
British Airways has revived plans to abandon Gatwick and concentrate operations at Heathrow, according to industry sources. This is due to fears by BA’s owner, IAG, that it could lose lucrative take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.  BA first considered leaving Gatwick more than a year ago in anticipation that demand for air travel will remain depressed for a number of years. The landing slots at Heathrow are very much sought-after and expensive, each costing tens of millions of pounds. Usually airlines have to make use of 80% of their slots, or risk losing them.  This was suspended due to Covid, and this waiver was initially due to end in late March. Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, then extended it, with no given end date. If the waiver is finally ended, then British Airways would want to be sure of keeping its lucrative Heathrow slots, by moving more of its activities there, from Gatwick – where the slots are less valuable. .Tweet     British Airways revives plans to abandon Gatwick The flag carrier has launched a review into concentrating its operations at Heathrow By Oliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (The Telegraph) 19 June 2021 British Airways has revived plans to abandon Gatwick, delivering a fresh blow to Britain’s second-biggest airport. Airline bosses have launched a review into concentrating the flag carrier’s operations at Heathrow, according to industry sources. Gatwick has been hit hardest of any European airport due to coronavirus restrictions on international travel, according research by pilots union Balpa, with daily arrivals and departures down by 92pc during the first week of June compared with the same period in 2019. It is understood that the review of Gatwick follows an order from IAG, BA’s FTSE 100 parent company, which is fearful that it could lose lucrative take-off and landing slots at Heathrow. BA raised the spectre of quitting Gatwick more than a year ago in anticipation that demand for air travel will remain depressed for a number of years. Given Heathrow’s popularity, take-off and landing slots are highly sought after and can be traded by airlines for tens of millions of pounds. In normal times, airlines are required to operate 80pc of the maximum possible flights to retain their slots. Failure to comply would result in slots being handed back to a central authority and reallocated to other airlines. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, issued a waiver of such “use it or lose it” rules. If Mr Shapps decides not to extend the waiver until demand returns to pre-pandemic levels, BA may need to focus on airports such as Heathrow where the slots are worth the most so that they do not lose them. Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, told analysts last month: “Gatwick is an important decision that we need to take as a group. It’s true that we have the issue with the slots. “Gatwick has some strategic value, but we need to be competitive there. This crisis is going to change the profile … of the demand. So we are analysing the different options.” British Airways declined to comment. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/06/19/british-airways-revives-plans-abandon-gatwick/ . See earlier:   Government extends waiver for airline slot use, with no end date 26th February 2021 Move provides aviation sector with much-needed flexibility and protects environment as airlines will not have to operate carbon-inefficient ‘ghost flights’ to retain their slots

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