British Airways can finally realize its low-cost aspirations after its subsidiary BA Euroflyer has received its own Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and Operating Licence (OL). BA Euroflyer will now gradually take over the parent airline’s international short-haul network at London Gatwick. BA Euroflyer gets ready to stand on its own feet.
BA announced in 2021 that it intended to establish BA Euroflyer as a separate entity with a lower cost structure, in its quest to fight competition at Gatwick from easyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air. Since it stopped international short-haul services from Gatwick at the beginning of the pandemic, BA had left this market share unprotected. easyJet in particular has been strengthening its base at Gatwick, while Wizz entered the market by basing five aircraft there.
Although officially just a paper airline until it would receive the AOC in the autumn of this year, BA launched Euroflyer on March 29, 2022 by operating under the British Airways AOC. Now that the CAA has approved the certificate and license, BA will transfer twenty Airbus aircraft to Euroflyer in the coming six months. One A320 is already registered with BA Euroflyer, but ten more will join as well as nine A321s. Crew will be (re)trained to comply with the airline’s AOC requirements.
BA Euroflyer will operate under the same principles as BA Cityflyer, the regional subsidiary that is based at London City Airport with a fleet of Embraer aircraft. But it has a different cost structure to make it more competitive with rival airlines. It took BA many rounds of negotiations to secure union support for its low-cost initiative. Cabin crew union Unite initially strongly opposed the plan, but approved the terms and conditions in November last year. This was a few weeks after the pilot union BALPA had agreed. In both cases, keeping as many jobs as possible at a time when BA had slashed some 10.000 positions during the pandemic was the main reason for the union’s support.
Euroflyer operated on over thirty routes this summer, including Amsterdam, Marrakech, and Santorini. The 2023 summer schedule includes 29 destinations, many in the Mediterranean region like Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, but also Turkey.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.