British Airways considers quitting Gatwick airport permanently – report
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According to a report in The Telegraph, British Airways is considering leaving London Gatwick for good.
A review has reportedly been launched into the mechanics of concentrating all mainline flights at Heathrow.
Why? What a surprise – it’s the slots.
The Telegraph says that the order has come from parent company IAG – possibly implying that British Airways management is not in favour – which is paranoid about the long term impact of losing take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.
As we have covered many times on Head for Points since covid appeared, an airline has to use an airport slot on 80% of dates. If it fails to do so, the slot is automatically forfeited and made available to any other airline which wants it.
There are two slot ‘seasons’, Winter and Summer, with switchover dates in late March and late October. There are separate slot pools for each season.
Since Spring 2020, the slot rules have been suspended. With some caveats, British Airways can run as few flights as it wants at present with no risk of having the slots taken away.
At some point, possibly next Spring but almost certainly in Autumn 2022, this waiver will end.
Without a waiver, British Airways will have to start running its full pre-covid schedule or it will start to forfeit slots. This simply isn’t possible – with the retirement of the Boeing 747 fleet, I doubt it has enough aircraft to do so, even if it wanted to.
Without a slot waiver, moving British Airways flights from Gatwick to Heathrow is the easiest – and probably only – way to ensure that the airline keeps its full slot portfolio.
Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, reportedly told analysts last month that:
“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.”
The Telegraph article is here (paywall).
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As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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The Platinum Card from American Express
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Run your own business?
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There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.