British Airways will try to compete with low-cost carriers like EasyJet and Wizz Air by reducing cabin crew and pilots’ access to fancy abroad hotels during layovers.
The airline is nearing the end of discussions to establish it’s ‘on, off, on again’ low-cost Gatwick subsidiary, which will cater to leisure travelers with point-to-point flights to popular vacation spots.
British Airways threatened to leave Gatwick entirely unless pilots and other employees agreed to new contracts with much lower pay and less favorable terms and conditions.
The airline argues it has been losing money at Gatwick for years because it has tried to compete on price with budget carriers with fewer overheads.
Pilots voted last month to support a proposal to reduce their pay in order to keep BA’s new low-cost subsidiary afloat. Pilots on the new carrier will be able to advance to the mainline brand at Heathrow in the future, increasing their wages.
British Airways has issued an email to cabin crew members who were laid off last year, urging them to apply for a job at the subsidiary as part of its intention to “fast-track” them into a position at the parent company.
“By applying for this vacancy, you’ll have the opportunity to help shape our new operation competing with carriers like Easyjet and Wizz, whilst ensuring we stand out from the crowd through our unique British Airways service,” the email reads.
Cabin crew can make up to £24,000 in a year through a combination of flying and duty pay, incentives, and in-flight sales commission, but the starting pay is only £15,848.
The airline is expected to start flying in March 2022 according to the email.
While the subsidiary is described as a “full-service premium airline,” cabin crew and pilots will not be able to take advantage of layovers because all flights will depart and arrive at Gatwick. The cabin crew would work two to four legs per day on average, with some duty days stretching to six legs.
Low-cost carriers frequently do not have crew layovers in order to save money. Rather than sending workers on overnight excursions, competitors like easyJet and Ryanair will usually establish a new base.
Cabin staff and pilots who like their personal lives, particularly those with children, are fans of the practice. One of the most significant advantages is that airlines can provide a pre-determined shift pattern, allowing crews to plan ahead of time.