BRITISH AIRWAYS will resume long-haul flights from Gatwick within weeks – despite previously warnings it may abandon the airport entirely.
The struggling airline will start flying twice-weekly to Barbados from July 18, giving the West Sussex airport a huge boost amid its coronavirus struggles.
Further flights have been scheduled to Bermuda, Jamaica and St Lucia.
Passengers can expect a significantly reduced onboard experience in all cabins, with food being served to passengers in snack-boxes, including those in first class.
Face masks must be worn at all times during the flight, with multiple masks needed for long-haul flights, while PPE packs will be given to travellers.
A Gatwick spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We are pleased that British Airways is to resume long haul services from Gatwick in mid-July and that passengers can once again enjoy the benefits of travelling further afield, whether flying for leisure or on business.”
Flag carrier BA was forced to suspend all flights from Gatwick in March due to covid-19, and kept a limited service from Heathrow for repatriation and cargo flights.
However the airline has now also confirmed that all short-haul flights which originally flew from Gatwick will be consolidated into Heathrow.
The change in airport for short-haul flights is likely to last until at least September.
Gatwick Airport added: “We hope that BA’s short haul services also return to the airport in coming months. Our other airlines are offering a growing number of short haul services however, so that passengers using Gatwick will continue to benefit from a wide choice of destination.”
The change in airport has left some tour operators worried, however, that it could lead to a wave of flight cancellations.
One tour operator, who asked to remain anonymous, told TTG that the switch in airport also meant changing departure and return dates – meaning passengers may not be able to fly.
Other airlines are also making huge changes amid the pandemic – easyJet is to close hubs at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports in another blow to the travel industry.
BA is expected to axe up to 12,000 jobs due to the pandemic, along with 4,500 jobs at easyJet and 3,000 jobs at Ryanair at risk.
Meanwhile, The Sun understands Virgin Atlantic’s future is “bleak” as it emerged earlier this week they can’t afford to pay staff for holidays.