It’s official: British Airways will launch its new short-haul subsidiary airline from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) in March 2022.
There’s been speculation for some time over the finer details of the new airline, which have now been revealed by British Airways.
“We are looking forward to bringing a short-haul network back to Gatwick, with a fantastic flying team in place, to serve our customers from London’s second hub airport, which we feel will be a success,” said Sean Doyle, CEO and Chairman at British Airways.
While British Airways’ wording specifies a new airline, all the current information provided would suggest that it will be almost exactly the same as before, and will exist under the British Airways name for at least a few months.
Let’s take a closer look.
A New Airline, or Just a Rebrand?
When British Airways’ new subsidiary launches in March 2022, it will operate under British Airways’ name until an Air Operator Certificate is received and it becomes known as BA Euroflyer. The airline expects to receive the certificate by fall 2022.
BA Euroflyer will be based at London Gatwick — London’s second-largest airport. This was expected after British Airways nixed its short-haul operations from Gatwick — its then second base — in spring 2020, leaving behind British Airways’ infrastructure and all-important slots.
The new BA Euroflyer will operate in a similar way to BA’s CityFlyer, which is based at London City Airport (LCY). Flights will be operated with British Airways aircraft and with British Airways crew wearing British Airways uniforms.
In terms of service, passengers can expect an identical experience to flying British Airways’ mainline flights: free water and snacks in economy, full short-haul meal service in Club Europe (business class), frequent flyer benefits, and lounge access.
The only noticeable change for passengers should, theoretically, be lower ticket prices. Prices are expected to be in line with British Airways’ Gatwick rival EasyJet and are currently advertised as starting at £39 (~$52) one-way.
Taking a look at flights from London airports to Berlin (BER) in June 2022, there’s not much of a difference between the cost of a flight from Gatwick with BA Euroflyer or British Airways from London Heathrow (LHR).
In fact, the flight from Gatwick to Berlin is more expensive at £51 ($68).
A flight on the same day from Heathrow for the exact same kind of ticket is a whole £3 (~$4) cheaper than its low-cost BA Euroflyer subsidiary.
And on the same day for a flight to Amsterdam (AMS), BA Euroflyer’s pricing does indeed come out cheaper than British Airways’ mainline services from Heathrow — albeit by just £4 (~$5).
If the aircraft, crew, pricing, and onboard/at-airport experiences are almost exactly the same as British Airways flights from Heathrow, it begs the question as to the decision to create a “new” airline in the first place.
The real reason is likely to be to do with the running of the airline behind the scenes, such as the lowering of operating costs as well as (more than likely) an even lower crew wage.
British Airways will launch BA Euroflyer at Gatwick in direct competition with EasyJet. The European low-cost giant is currently Gatwick’s biggest airline and operates to many of the leisure destinations that British Airways’ new subsidiary will fly to.
BA Euroflyer’s operations will initially be supported with just 3 short-haul Airbus aircraft. The plan is to have a fleet of 18 aircraft in operation by the end of May. These are likely to be primarily made up of ex-Gatwick-based British Airways aircraft.
In total, 35 destinations will be served by BA Euroflyer from Gatwick (LGW).
The network will comprise a mix of old and new destinations. The 5 cities that are emboldened in the list below are brand new routes for British Airways (or BA Euroflyer) at Gatwick:
Alicante (ALC), Amsterdam (AMS), Antalya (ATY), Athens (ATH), Bari (BRI), Berlin (BER), Bordeaux (BOD), Cagliari (CAG), Catania (CTA), Dalaman (DLM), Dubrovnik (DBV), Faro (FAO), Gran Canaria (LPA), Heraklion (HER), Ibiza (OBZ), Kos (KGS), Lanzarote (ACE), Larnaca (LCA), Mahon (MAH), Madrid (MAD), Malta (MLA), Malaga (AGP), Marrakech (RAK), Milan (MXP), Nice (NCE), Rhodes (RHO), Palma (PMI), Paphos (PFO), Santorini (JTR), Seville (SVQ), Tenerife (TFS), Thessaloniki (SKG), Turin (TRN), Venice (VCE), and Verona (VRN).
As was the case with British Airways’ previous operations out of Gatwick, these destinations are predominantly popular European leisure destinations.
Tickets are already on sale through ba.com.
What This Means for You
If you’re traveling from the U.S. to mainland Europe via London, now you’ll have the option of connecting onto BA Euroflyer flights from Gatwick, as well as onto British Airways flights at Heathrow.
British Airways currently operates nonstop flights from Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA) to Gatwick (LGW). From March, passengers starting their journeys in the U.S. will be able to connect to 35 destinations across Europe on single-ticket itineraries.
American AAdvantage and Oneworld elites alike will benefit from earning miles as well as their using their elite status benefits when taking flights to Europe via British Airways and the new BA Euroflyer.
JetBlue also recently launched flights to Gatwick. However, you’ll need to book 2 separate tickets if you want to catch a BA Euroflyer flight after arriving at Gatwick, as JetBlue and British Airways do not have any form of joint venture agreement.
When it comes to passenger experience, flying BA Euroflyer from London Gatwick isn’t likely to seem like you’re flying a new airline. Rather, it will just be as if you were taking a British Airways flight from Gatwick back in early 2020 or before.
British Airways is pivoting to make its already low-cost-esque short-haul business model officially low-cost by changing the way the business operates behind the scenes.
The planes, the crew, the onboard service, as well as all of the perks associated with being a British Airways Executive Club (or Oneworld) elite member will be exactly the same.
We’ll be sure to let you know what it’s like onboard one of BA Euroflyer’s flights once the airline gets off the ground next year.