Aerial view of Gatwick South Terminal (Photo: Vinci)

British Airways

has significantly reduced its presence at London’s second largest airport, Gatwick, in recent years. The airline now operates only a few long-haul flights, particularly to leisure destinations.

However, it is keen to return to the south London hub as restrictions are gradually lifted and to define a strategy to regain market share. British Airways has in fact gradually given ground to low-cost competition in recent years.

In 2019, out of the 46.6 million passengers at Gatwick, easyjet came first with 19 million passengers. That’s a market share of 40%. Last year, Gatwick traffic just reached 10.2 million passengers. But easyjet managed to increase its market share. With 4.8 million passengers, easyjet accounted for 47% of all passenger traffic.

British Airways

is

also working on the creation

of a

low-cost

airline. No name has yet been revealed but it could be called British Airways Express like its Spanish counterpart Iberia within IAG. The carrier could start operations in March next year, for the IATA summer season. It would offer flights to Europe as well as domestic routes in the UK.

The carrier could in fact benefit from a development plan by the Vinci Group that would allow it to welcome some 75 million annual passengers to Gatwick by 2038. One of the highlights of the expansion plan would be to use the northern runway permanently. At the moment this runway is only used when the main runway is not operational. In fact, the short distance between the two runways prevents any parallel use.

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But by moving the centre of the runway by 12 metres, the airport would then benefit from a system of runways in simultaneous use. This would allow Gatwick to make up for the capacity shortfall in the London airport system. Consultations with users and local residents are due to start in December.