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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)

  • John T says:

    Any discussion of crew salaries always descends into arguments for and against minimum wage on this site!

    These roles will be attractive for some people. If you have a family and want to sleep in your own bed each night and don’t want to work 40 hours a week it could be good. Have a second job on the side if you please. The per hour rate isn’t bad and you get BA staff travel benefits to take your family off to Orlando or South Africa for your winter holidays. Overnighting in Bangkok or Bahamas might be exciting and exotic, but regularly overnighting in somewhere like Grenoble or Thessaloniki not so much.

    If you’re doing a Greek island or Cyprus return that would be an extremely long day though.

    • John says:

      You’d definitely need a second job to take your family to south Africa for a holiday…

      • Dev says:

        Lest we forget … the APD for UK originating flights makes staff travel much less attractive then before … for a family of four, your still out of pocket a minimum of £500!

  • Neal says:

    Historical not historic

  • Jack Hodgson says:

    Nearly £20 a hour seems to be quite reasonable but very interesting to see night stops stopped for short haul will be interesting to see what routes stay at Heathrow for good or some former Heathrow routes move to Gatwick . Can’t wait to get back into the fab lounge

  • Lee says:

    One thing is for sure is that there will have been very little concession by the pilots on their salary so the cabin crew and ground staff are the ones that suffer……when have the flight crew ever cared about anybody except themselves..

    • Rob says:

      Pilots have lost out. Hourly pay is similar but with a very thin Winter schedule planned their total income will be down.

  • Scottie says:

    This new product appears to be based on similar to the already tried and tested BA City Flyer business model but without any planned night stops !
    However BA City Flyer do not charge for any drinks & snacks.

  • Alex Lakey says:

    Having flown out of LGW to St Lucia recently I thought the whole Gatwick operation was poor. Very slow check in (there was 1 person serving a Club and First class line and 3 serving all of Economy) and the airport (North terminal) is horrible. No proper lounge either, the contract lounge BA is using sucks, the food was poor and very slow to arrive. I would prefer to fly another airline from LHR than have to set foot on another BA flight from LGW. I’d start again at Gatwick and flatten what’s there, its a dump.

    • NorthernTraveller says:

      I would imagine that BA would be back in the South Terminal once it reopens, which I’m sure it will by next summer at the latest. Their operation there is actually pretty good and the lounge knocks the socks off the LHR equivalents.

  • Lou says:

    I am intrigued who will apply for the Gatwick cabin crew roles. It feels like there are none of the perks of travel now, given you will most likely spend 50 minutes in a foreign country, cleaning the plane before you head back. I could see the appeal if you were going to get a few nights long haul somewhere in compensation for the low pay.

    Unless you’ve got a hobby you can fit around which you want to focus on and just get some money through the door, I don’t really know who’d go for that level of uncertainty for not very much.

    • Dubious says:

      I suppose it works if you want to build up some experience before moving on to another airline.

    • John T says:

      Some people don’t want to be away from their families many nights a month. Per hour actually worked it’s not a bad wage.

    • Ian says:

      I believe the number of applicants for cabin crew positions far exceeds the number of vacancies, so there must be a lot of people who want to do it for not very much money. If they can afford to and they like it, then why not!

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