British Airways closes Gatwick Airport base indefinitely amid coronavirus crisis

British Airways is to close its Gatwick airport base indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis.

The airline told staff based at the Sussex airport in a late-night email. 

A spokesperson said: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.   

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”

Gatwick has long been BA’s secondary base, with fewer flights and more of a leisure focus than Heathrow.

The move reflects the reality that all BA’s scheduled services to and from Gatwick are cancelled until further notice.

The only operations shown today are two arrivals of repatriation flights from Lima in Peru.

Some ground operations staff will be kept on to maintain the airline’s readiness to resume services.

British Airways is continuing to fly dozens of flights to and from Heathrow, with departures on Tuesday to Frankfurt, Gibraltar, Budapest, Lisbon, Reykjavik, Stuttgart and Manchester before 8am on Tuesday.

Gatwick, which until last month had the busiest runway in the world, has announced it is closing its North Terminal – and keeping its runway open to scheduled flights only between 2pm and 10pm daily during April.

On Monday, easyJet the biggest airline at Gatwick, announced it would ground all 344 aircraft across the UK because of the pandemic.

Norwegian, normally the third-biggest airline at Gatwick after easyJet and British Airways, has grounded almost its entire operation.

Source: Read Full Article

BA passengers face even longer wait times as airline closes call centre due to coronavirus

British Airways customers trying to get in touch with the airline to cancel flights or find a way home amid the coronavirus pandemic may have a longer wait to make contact after the company announced its Delhi call centre was shutting.

The Indian government closed down the office as part of its response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

BA informed the travel trade of the closure on Sunday night.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The British flag carrier said customers may experience longer than usual call waiting times until contingency plans have been put in place.

Customers are being asked to only telephone the airline if they are due to fly within the next 72 hours.

It comes as Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, announced it was unlikely to be operating any commercial flights from today until June.

Flight bans across Europe have now closed the continent’s skies to all but a handful of rescue flights, and Ryanair has stated that, based on the length of China’s lockdown, most travel is likely to be suspended for three months.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions,” said the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, in a statement.

Passengers whose Ryanair flights have been cancelled due to new travel restrictions will receive an email outlining their options over the next two weeks.

The airline has requested that customers be patient and refrain from calling, as it has reduced office staff by 50 per cent to comply with social distancing rules.

Fewer staff means they will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days will be rescue flights, according to the statement.

Source: Read Full Article