MIAMI – British Airways (BA) may reverse its decision to end short-haul domestic flights from Crawley, West Sussex’s Gatwick Airport (LGW).

The decision comes as BA’s pilots union reconsidered the airline’s proposal to set up a low-cost unit, Reuters reports today.

British Airways was considering leaving LGW in light of stiff competition from low-cost airlines such as easyJet (U2). But BA could stay competitive by establishing a new low-cost division that is designed to go head-to-head with such carriers – providing the pilots union gives the OK.

The airline said last month that it was ending service at LGW as the BALPA had rejected its original proposal. But Reuters now says the talks are back on.

BA has long struggled to make a profit with its short-haul LGW operation, especially as easyJet grew to become the airports biggest operator. (Photo: amateur photography by michel, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Shift to London Heathrow

During the pandemic, BA shifted most of its service to Heathrow (LHR). But now, as passengers begin to return, the airline said it would rebuild its European network out of Gatwick – providing it could become profitable against easyJet which is the airport’s largest airline.

“Last week BALPA asked us to resume discussions. These talks were constructive, addressed key concerns and have secured the efficiencies required,” a BA spokesperson said on Monday.

Reuters says that BALPA was consulting with its members on working conditions and pay at LGW. “The union will announce the result of the ballot later this week,” a BALPA representative said.

BA says that historically, its short-haul domestic routes at LGW have been unprofitable. The airline now hopes to create a new more competitive low-cost unit that will still offer the service and feel of the BA brand.

Featured image: British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-ZBJM. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways