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British Airways in advanced talks on low-cost Gatwick business, CEO says

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By Reuters
British Airways in advanced talks on low-cost Gatwick business, CEO says
British Airways in advanced talks on low-cost Gatwick business, CEO says   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
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LONDON – British Airways’ CEO said on Tuesday that negotiations to set up a new low-cost subsidiary at London’s second biggest airport Gatwick were “advanced”.

“We want to set up a subsidiary which has got a competitive cost platform,” BA CEO Sean Doyle told reporters at an event at Heathrow Airport.

“We’re in, you know, advanced negotiations to try and enable that.”

The airline, owned by Anglo-Spanish group IAG, first announced plans for the new business focused on short-haul flying on Friday, saying that it would be branded British Airways and would offer the same standard of service.

BA has been evaluating its position at Gatwick after stopping flights there during the pandemic and focusing on operations at its main hub Heathrow, Britain and London’s busiest airport.

If negotiations with unions to set up the new unit fail, then Doyle said BA would not be able to compete at Gatwick and could look to sell its slots there.

“We would consider alternatives for the slot portfolio,” Doyle said.

Asked if there would be further job losses at BA should the new unit not go ahead, Doyle said that the move was about opportunities. BA axed more than 10,000 staff at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

Doyle was at Heathrow to launch the airline’s BA Better World sustainability programme, providing further details of how the airline plans to make progress towards its parent company’s longer term goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

During the global climate summit due to be held in Glasgow later this year, BA said it would buy the equivalent amount of lower-emissions sustainable aviation fuel for its London to Scotland flights.

BA passengers will also have a greater opportunity to offset their carbon footprint by directly paying for sustainable aviation fuel should they wish.