DALLAS – British Airways (BA) has reason to celebrate following its newly formed short-haul subsidiary BA Euroflyer receiving its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). The separate airline is based at London Gatwick (LGW) and operates under the BA brand, similar to BA CityFlyer at London City (LCY).
In a bid to fend off fiercer competition from low-cost competitors at LGW, BA Euroflyer was created to allow BA to operate short-haul flights with significantly lower operating costs compared to its mainstream hub at London Heathrow (LHR). The new subsidiary began operations in March, albeit using the regulatory approvals of its parent airline, pending certification from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
A press release from the airline noted that BA Euroflyer passengers will “receive the same premium service as on mainline British Airways flights as well as enjoying the benefits of travelling with the UK’s flag carrier including a generous baggage allowance, free water and snacks, free seat selection at -24 hours and frequent flyer benefits which include lounge access.
“Customers flying in Club Europe (business class) enjoy a premium check-in area, lounge access and a complimentary gourmet meal and bar service on board.”
Within the next six months, ten Airbus A320 and nine Airbus A321 aircraft will migrate to the BA Euroflyer fleet, joining A320 – G-GATL – which has already been transferred. Next year, BA EuroFlyer will operate to more than 30 destinations from LGW, with their network being biased towards leisure destinations.
Reflecting on the issuance of the AOC, Tom Stoddart, Acting CEO of BA Euroflyer, said, “Receiving the AOC is a momentous day in the BA Euroflyer journey and is testament to the hard work of the brilliant teams that have worked closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority on the AOC and Operating Licence applications, whilst also managing the ramp-up of a start-up airline during its first summer of operations.”
BA has maintained a short-haul presence at LGW for many years. Still, before the pandemic, it was operated under the umbrella of BA’s mainline operation with subtle changes to crew rostering agreements. The new offshoot sees cabin and flight crew employed on considerably different contracts to their LHR-based colleagues. Long haul routes from LGW will remain operated by BA’s mainline division.
Featured image: Ten A320s will be based at LGW during next year. Photo: Roberto Leiro/Airways