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Posted by
1534 posts

Not real surprising.

My bother said he heard on the Atlanta radio that 153 people went through immigration at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport yesterday. Average traffic is 20,000 people. So approximately 99% fewer people that on a normal day. (And probably 1/4 to 1/2 of the people at immigration yesterday work for the airline!)

Posted by
1093 posts

Has BA wanted to get out of Gatwick? These types of economic downturns tend to give companies the opportunity to make business moves they’re wanted to make but didn’t want to take a publicity hit.

Posted by
3993 posts

Has BA wanted to get out of Gatwick? These types of economic downturns tend to give companies the opportunity to make business moves they’re wanted to make but didn’t want to take a publicity hit.

More than likely. The IAG group made a profit in excess of €3bn last year, that is a significant amount of profit. Shareholders are not receving dividends this year and 12,000 BA staff are being made redundant (I don't have figures for the other IAG airlines). The company is made up of 25% ownership of Qatar Airways which is government owned so there's a significant pool of funding available from the rich Qatari government if required.

Certainly the group is losing significant money during the pandemic but they still have significant reserves. They've already stated that they have no plans to draw down on any of their facilities so making so many staff redundant is questionable.

It certainly makes me question my allegiance to British Airways. Just how much profit does a company need to make?

Posted by
1225 posts

BA leaving Gatwick would be great news for me so, selfishly, I hope it happens. It also, I'd have thought, makes sense for BA through consolidating London operations in one base (though with some risk of having all their eggs in one basket). They haven't done it before because BA doesn't have enough slots at Heathrow to service all its routes (and buying new slots is difficult - pre-virus they were rarely sold, very expensive and some limits were imposed to stop BA monopolising routes). But, presumably, BA will be running many fewer services overall anyway for a while and rival Heathrow airlines might disappear entirely (Virgin?), or at least scale-back (especially if Airline X can get some desperately needed cash by selling a Heathrow slot pair). So - if BA itself still has any money left after all this - there is an opportunity for it to at least consider buying up new slots (at a discount price, perhaps), and consolidating.

At the very least, again being self-serving, I hope they transfer the Seville flight to Heathrow when things start up again!

Posted by
4029 posts

I use Gatwick which is closer for me. No airline pulling out of any airport is good for competition and therefore ticket prices.

Posted by
23751 posts

I prefer Gatwick - so easy for me to get to by train. And just two easy terminals and two Premier Inns within a very short walk.

Not so easy by car for me though.

Posted by
2424 posts

"But, presumably, BA will be running many fewer services overall anyway for a while and rival Heathrow airlines might disappear entirely (Virgin?)"

Nick, what might this mean for anyone holding a voucher for future travel from Virgin Atlantic?

I think I know the answer; just dreading to hear it.

Posted by
1225 posts

Rebecca - I've no particular knowledge of what will happen to Virgin and don't want to worry you! I just used VA as an example because recently Branson has been screaming loudest for a bailout. Anyway, apparently (according to the BBC), the UK government are talking to VA about some financial help so perhaps it will be a happy ending.. What happens to vouchers in the event any airline goes bust, I don't know.

Posted by
1231 posts

If Virgin goes bankrupt there is a big risk that the only way to get some flying out of your voucher is to make a paper airplane out of it.

I'm no expert on UK financial laws, but I presume that if Virgin goes under you could contact the administrator and see if you can get any money back. Having a voucher means you are a debtholder. But it depends on how "important" voucher holders are considered and how much money there is left in the company.

Posted by
1093 posts

One reason I thought of overnight might be that BA wouldn’t mind getting out of the race to the bottom. Leave Gatwick to the discount airlines while Ba can focus on higher fare service from Heathrow.

Posted by
4479 posts

A couple of governments in places situated at the other end of BA flights have indicated they expect flights to resume in due course to Heathrow rather than Gatwick: Jersey & Bermuda. Whether they have more information over speculation isn't clear

Posted by
3993 posts

One reason I thought of overnight might be that BA wouldn’t mind getting out of the race to the bottom. Leave Gatwick to the discount airlines while Ba can focus on higher fare service from Heathrow.

Flying BA out of Gatwick is no cheaper, for the passenger, than flying out of Heathrow. I've researched many flights over the years and where there are options for flying out of Heathrow or Gatwick (or vice versa on the return) the price difference is often negligible and my decision is pretty much based on the most suitable timings.

Posted by
4479 posts

My experience is somewhat different but maybe the difference is clearer for other airlines, such as Aer Lingus. Gatwick changes significantly lower user fees and the ultimate fare to the traveller of most airlines reflect that. If BA doesn't then it has been trousering the difference for itself.

BA has different union pay agreements for its Gatwick staff which are much lower than applicable from Heathrow, although this is partially explained in seniority. This too should lead to lower prices; after all BA is in competition with the likes of Easyjet Tui etc at LGW and less with itself at Gatwick.

What hasn't been mentioned here are the operations of BA from London City. These must be even more uncertain going forward.