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BRITISH Airways is planning to launch a low-cost subsidiary to operate short-haul flights to and from Gatwick Airport.

The unnamed airline would run alongside its parent company’s long-haul operation at the airport near Crawley.

BA has suspended its domestic and European routes serving Gatwick during the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier’s management committee sent an internal letter to staff, which read: “This was previously a highly competitive market, but for us to run a sustainable airline in the current environment, we need a competitive operating model.

“Because of that, we are proposing a new operating subsidiary to run alongside our existing long-haul Gatwick operation, to serve short-haul routes to/from Gatwick from summer 2022.

“This will help us to be both agile and competitive, allowing us to build a sustainable short-haul presence at Gatwick over time.”

The letter said that the “cautious approach of governments” has undermined customer confidence and means the recovery of air travel “remains far behind where we need it to be”.

Employees were told that the airline’s pay costs will “steeply increase” once the UK’s furlough scheme ends on September 30, which is “bad news”.

The message stated that BA’s schedule and operating costs for the remainder of the year “will not line up”.

It added: “We believe that this will be a temporary problem, but it’s a serious one which we need to manage.

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