British Airways (BA) is reportedly halting all its services from London Gatwick (LGW) once more and placing more staff on furlough as a result of the current month-long COVID-19 lockdown that began in England on Nov. 5.
The new lockdown was instigated to try to blunt a new spike in infection figures. It is scheduled to end on Dec. 2, although the government has warned that it could be extended beyond that date if infection rates do not drop sufficiently.
BA had ceased all services from LGW in late March as the pandemic rapidly spread, but some long-haul routes from the airport resumed over the summer—mainly long-haul leisure routes to the Caribbean.
UK-based media outlet Sky News cited a letter from BA’s management to staff Nov. 10 in which the carrier said it had “made the difficult decision to further reduce our operation for the rest of November. This means far fewer flights than we hoped for in November and means grounding more of our aircraft, including pausing all flights from Gatwick until December.”
In a brief statement Nov. 11, BA declined to go into details, saying: “Following the government's announcement of a new national lockdown for England, we have been urgently reviewing our schedule for November.
“Our focus is on keeping crucial air links open—bringing home the thousands of customers currently abroad, transporting vital goods, and ensuring people who are permitted to travel in and out of the UK for work, education and other reasons stipulated by the UK government, can continue to do so.”
The company has not given figures for the number of staff already on furlough, or who are affected by the latest lockdown.
Photo credit: London Gatwick Airport via Twitter