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More details about the new British Airways low-cost London Gatwick operation emerge

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With a deal now done with pilot union BALPA to cut pay and conditions, British Airways is pushing on with its plans to launch a new low-cost operation at London Gatwick next year.

This operation is ‘low cost’ only in terms of its operating structure. It will not be ‘low cost’ from the point of view of the passenger, and the flights will be fully BA branded as they were pre-covid.

Flyertalk published an email which had been sent to ex-BA cabin crew members to ask if they wanted to apply to work at the new operation.

British Airways BA A320neo

It is described as ‘a new start-up airline’ albeit under British Airways ownership. The airline will be:

“a full-service premium airline competing on leisure routes from Gatwick, operating a range of European point-to-point flying.”

What salary is on offer?

The basic pay on offer is £15,848. This will be topped up by ‘duty pay’ (an extra payment based on hours flown), commission on in-flight sales and allowances.

The maximum salary achievable, with meal and duty allowances added, is £24,000. Crew have claimed in the past that there is always a disparity between BA’s claims of ‘maximum earnings’ and the reality so you should assume that £24,000 will be difficult to achieve.

One way that BA is keeping costs down is by ending night stops. All aircraft will return to Gatwick in the evening so there will be no hotel bills for crew. This will impact the ability to run early morning departures from, for example, Jersey as an aircraft would first need to arrive from London.

The cabin crew hired for these contracts will not work the Caribbean long-haul flights departing from Gatwick. The jobs are exclusively short haul, although many crew with family or other commitments will appreciate being in their own beds every night.

Flights are scheduled to launch in March 2022 according to the email. This would presumably be 27th March, which is the first day of the IATA Summer season and is when the ‘Summer’ slot allocation comes into play.

Routes have not yet been announced. The first year is expected to use no more than 17 aircraft, only half of what Gatwick used in the Summer peak in 2019, so it will not be a return the historic normal Summer flying pattern. We will let you know when flights are bookable.


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Comments (102)

  • JRC says:

    If my maths are right the basic is £7.62 / hour assuming a 40hr week. The £24k capped pay works out at £11.50. If you’re not staying over in some “exotic” location as you would if you worked long haul, then I think they will struggle to find staff. You earn more working in an Amazon warehouse.

    • John says:

      It’s not like you can do much on a night stop anyway…

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        Having been out with some REDACTED crew in REDACTED, I’d like to challenge what you can do in an evening ;-0

        • John says:

          I know. Thanks for causing your airline to have to pay me EC261 compensation when the crew didn’t show up on time

    • marcw says:

      Cabin crare only allowed to fly up to 800h a year.

      • ChrisC says:

        This is what people aren’t taking into account.

        £15,848 / 800 = £ 19.81per hour

        £ 24,000 / 800 = £ 30.00

        • Annon says:

          You’re an idiot- seriously. The 800 block hours is when the aircraft starts moving under its own power. It doesn’t include the time time required to pre flight plan in the office, walk across to the aircraft airport security etc etc then prepare the aircraft before departure. Once on the ground it doesn’t include turnaround time to prep the aircraft for the return leg. I’m sorry, I don’t typically bother with trolls, but your stupid 2 minute iPhone internet research post with no understanding of what the job involves is infuriating.

          • ChrisC says:

            Really? I’m no troll. Nor am I an idiot.

            Resorting to insults negates any serious points you might have to make.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            800hrs / 48 weeks = 16.7 hrs/week. Even if they spend twice as long at work as they do in the air that’s still only a 33 hour week.

    • TimM says:

      For the same, or less money, many people would prefer to work as BA cabin crew than in an Amazon warehouse. Other people are the opposite. It is not all about ponds and pence per hour.

      • Dev says:

        I guess this all depends on actual flight schedules and whether crew have “side hustles” … if the schedule works favourably e.g. the monthly hours work out to 2.5 weeks work and 1.5 week rest days, there are opportunities.

        I know plenty of crew (mostly with overseas carriers) who use the job as an enabler for side hustles… ever wondered why some crew travel with 2 big suitcases on a 1 or 2 night journey?

        staff travel can also be used effectively to run an import/export business!

        • David S says:

          Especially as a result of Brexit. We do CE now to get stuff abroad and bring some stuff back that you just can’t get in the UK

        • DC says:

          So BA are running a business on jobs that basically mean people have to do two jobs.

          Wow

          this world is doomed

          • ChrisC says:

            All sorts of business operate on using lots of part time staff requiring people to work two jobs!

          • Rob says:

            Good luck doing that when the hours and even days worked of your main job change weekly.

          • flyforfun says:

            I’ve been having arguments with our HR about hybrid working post pandemic and there has been a big softening to this over time, but the thing that surprised me in the last conversation I had they mentioned an acceptance of people having “side hustles”. I found that surprising given that we’re a 9 to 5 business!

            But then I caught up with an old colleague and found that one of the directors that had left actually had a side hustle of running and accountancy practice all the time he was working!!

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Aware of a number of people earning six figure main salaries who have “side hustles” (or “portfolio careers” if you want to be all posh). Often it’s developing a less demanding 2nd career with a view to semi-retirement and ditching the 1st one at some stage. Sometimes it’s just the fun and the challenge.
            Diversification is as sound in employment as it is in investment – 1 of your 3 roles just laid you off? Not so big a deal as losing your only job is it…?
            Ultimately the market will dictate whether these jobs get filled – but those used to single 9-5 jobs should realise that this is not the only – or even necessarily the best – career path.

    • Lady London says:

      Must be fewer hours guaranteed otherwise would be less than minimum wage.

      • ChrisC says:

        As above max hours for cabin crew is 800 per year.

        And there are weekly and monthly limits within that total as well.

        There can be some variations in that for example during emergency situations but hours are carefully monitored by both the crew themselves and the airline.

        • Lady London says:

          That’s why FR for example, delay short haul flights by switching the incoming aircraft when everyone’s already airside at the departure airport waiting for it. Because the crew on the aircraft that was designated to pick those passengers will go out of hours they have to do that flight as well. Due to late running of an earlier flight. Why you’re so, so much more likely to be delayed on the last flight of the day on a shorthaul airline that uses its aircraft intensively.

          One airline on my main route does the last flight as 3rd and last rotation of the day for the crew. The other always schedules it as 4th rotation. Even though the 2 airlines’ flights leave within 10 minutes of each other, guess which one is routinely delayed just short of tge magic 2 hours when duty of care woukd kick in.

    • 1ATL says:

      It’s not even that simple…. somewhere written down in the small print with the CAA is that UK based crew can’t fly more than 900hrs in a rolling 12 month period. So very crudely you can see this job isn’t going to be attracting people who want full time work or the salary it commands. Some people might appreciate that lifestyle while having a minimal monthly salary that by its virtue as being low is also going to be taxed pretty minimally also. I’d expect lots of older applicants when the role goes live externally, people who’ve made their money in other walks of life and who always wanted to try it. But certainly for those looking to make a career out of flying it’s most definitely not a job I’d be looking at.

    • Tariq says:

      Entry-level crew roles will attract a very different demographic to warehouse working though…!

  • Nick says:

    JER is staying at LHR and keeps its nightstop as a result.

    Otherwise the planned routes are largely as you’d expect. Some will be very low frequency, and the schedule will be easy-style, so with lots of 6am departures and 11pm arrivals. I don’t know if they’re planning to match easy turnaround times though… that’s not really something BA has ever been able to achieve before!

    • John says:

      I guess it depends on the connection potential

    • 1ATL says:

      Agree about the connection factor. Jersey at Gatwick harked back to B-Cal days. The primary focus then was connectivity to London but also to JFK. Later when BA took over Jersey was well timed for JFK and BDA for all that offshore banking traffic. Nowadays with what remains or is soon to be seen at LGW I can’t see BA wanting to maintain a JER route presence there, I’d be wanting it at LHR where it could easily connect with GCM, PLS, BDA, JFK

  • Mikeact says:

    Sounds a bit like the recent Southampton flights just finished for the season….limited European destinations, but BA were using the LCC fleet at weekends only which really worked out well I understand. An absolute doddle to get to the Canaries we found.

    • Matarredondaaa says:

      Southampton was not LCC it was Ba Cityflyer
      To be profitable BA will need to have turn rounds similar to EJ to maximise fleet utilisation.
      Suspect cabin crew salaries be similar to WizzAir, etc
      Think I am correct in saying cabin crew on LCC’s do not get food provided

      • Lee says:

        I work for EZY and we do get crew food and some hot and cold drinks provided

        • TimM says:

          According to reports, RyanAir does not provide crew food & drinks – they are deductions from their pay. Ryanair flight crew have famously complained that they even have to pay for a bottle of water while flying, their own overnight hotel when getting into position when changing bases etc.. I believe the turnover is quite high.

          • 1ATL says:

            Their crew also have to provide their own teabags…. FR won’t even stretch to a staff subsidised cuppa! Free hot water tho…. I assume that’s listed as a staff benefit in their welcome pack!

      • Mikeact says:

        Sorry, I meant LCY fleet, definitely not low cost carrier.

    • 1ATL says:

      SOU was really popular for BA Cityflyer this summer. So much so they’ve already announced a presence there for next summer with seats already on sale. Canaries won’t be a feature as with all the will in the world the Embraer fleet they use isn’t capable of making it that far… at least not without stopping and preferably not in the Atlantic short of the destination…

      • Dicksbits says:

        Amazed to hear. My colleague flew with her family to and from Malaga mid-August from SOU. There were 17 people on the flight both ways !

        • 1ATL says:

          My flights were rammed to the rafters both ways in October but that’s only ever going to be 98 passengers on the Cityflyer aircraft. The the clincher for me was the small airport experience at Southampton – ours was the only international flight arriving so the UK Border experience was a dream compared to the horror stories coming out of Heathrow. Also complimentary bar and full sized sandwich served in Economy which is polar opposites to the Speedbird Cafe buy before you fly offering out of Heathrow made it a sweet deal. SOU is a great little airport and well linked for road and rail. I’m already contemplating booking once my annual leave is open for next year.

      • Mikeact says:

        Sorry, second apology of the day….the Balearic Islands !

      • Lady London says:

        SOU and BRS have now emerged as important for more upmarket leisure travelling – for BA, this would be similar to Gatwick. They would be missing a trick if they don’t provide to that area.

  • Pedro says:

    Iberia Express Madrid-LGW twice a day restarts 27 March so that ties in with the likely BA start date.

    • marcw says:

      What a coincidence! Really, that’s the date when the IATA S’22 season starts.

  • Joe says:

    Don’t really understand how the night stops have lasted so long. Who wants to get up at 4am to come back from premium leisure? Lgw isn’t my first choice anyhow but I must admit I choose ba at Heathrow often for leisure as flight leaves between 9-10 and not 6-7 (and there they can have the planes out for night stops for business connecting). Glad the competition remains at Lgw – good for the consumer

    • Joe says:

      Oh – and likely much less unprofitable than they made out (just a bit of crew and night stop savings?!)

    • John says:

      They aren’t all premium though. And you just don’t sleep if your return flight is at 0600…

    • Andrew says:

      Travel works in both directions. There’ll be plenty of people wanting to make the most of a long weekend in London by flying as early as possible. From some places waiting for an inbound flight from London would mean not getting to the UK before mid-afternoon. Add in the airport formalities, travelling to the city center, checking into your hotel and you might be lucky to make it in time for dinner.

      • Joe says:

        Yes but most ba into Gatwick shorthaul is UK origin I would think. And now the times will likely be the same as ezy (or slightly later given the turnaround efficiency)

  • Terry S says:

    Wonder if the BA lounge will reopen?

  • IHGNowSucks says:

    How is someone supposed to have a decent life living within a commutable distance of Gatwick on between £16-24k?

    • TimM says:

      As Dev suggests above, it may just be a cover for a smuggling business, e.g. toilet rolls or packets of salt and vinegar crisps.

      • John says:

        Or cigarettes…my neighbours cleaner pays £60 and I bought them for £18 in Gibraltar last time I went

    • Lady London says:

      Heathrow staff have considerably higher costs with not much more. And BA used Covid to finally get rid of legacy staff that had managed to hang onto older contracts that paid a reasonable wage and benefits package

    • the_real_a says:

      Same argument for someone who works the tills at Tesco. But for a young person living at home, or someone who`s partner earns considerable more the role is attractive. There are no shortage of applicants.

      • ZF says:

        There most certainly is a shortage of applicants, across all of the roles you mentioned. And it’s insane that we demand someone working a hard job to be essentially a dependant not able to live on their own, but ‘living with parents’, ‘living with a partner’ or ‘having a side hustle’. And when inevitably they don’t provide a great service at Club, can we really say something, they’re treated as warm bodies by BA.

        • Lady London says:

          We did Brexit to stop this?

          Are we finally going to see long-disrespected appallingly exploitatively low paid jobs disappear un the UK?
          The ones people have to be subsidised by a family member or their partner, to do? (Been there, done that.)

          Have we finally seen a benefit from Brexit?
          There will only be the mattee of inflation to deal with

          • Dev says:

            I live in Africa where cabin crew get paid a pittance, but entry requirements means they are graduates, good looking and well spoken in a English. However, they all use it as an enabler … importing goods does not need to be evading duty on cigerettes, etc … the crew in the country I live in focus on cosmetics, nappies and children’s clothes.

            In fact, there’s a whole thriving grey market for personal shoppers to provide for the middle class who want goods that are ludicrously expensive in the shops.

          • Rob says:

            It’s not always exploitation per se. Many young Europeans were happy to earn a low wage over here in return for the experience of living in the UK for a couple of years. Most of them were massively over-qualified – most of the senior roles at Pret (the in-house lawyers etc) were actually Euro-born store staff who just happened to be trained lawyers etc and who Pret was happy to take into management.

            No different to au pairs who were happy to work for virtually nothing in return for a free room and food – and indeed is how Anika originally came to the UK.

  • Mikeact says:

    I think you’ll find that nobody has to work for BA if I remember correctly.

    • Ian says:

      Agreed. There is no shortage of people willing to work for these low salaries. If there was, the market would lead to higher rates of pay.

      • Rob says:

        Given the shortage of staff across hotels and restaurants I wouldn’t be so sure. FT today says head chef roles in London now command £90k.

        • Ian says:

          I meant in the sense that there is no shortage of people willing to work as cabin crew for low salaries…apparently it’s still considered a glamorous career.

          • bafan says:

            Really? BA are advertising an awful lot if they’re so besieged by applications.

    • ZF says:

      And I hope that nobody does.

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