British Airways flights could move to Heathrow
A tweet from the Government yesterday signalled that the restarted British Airways service to the island could fly in and out of Heathrow instead of Gatwick.
The tweet came after staff at the airline were told that the company might not reopen its Gatwick operation — where the Bermuda service has been based for decades — after the coronavirus pandemic ended.
The Bermuda Government tweet said: “Expect direct air service between London @HeathrowAirport and @Bermuda once regular commercial air service resumes at LF Wade Int'l Airport.
“We look forward to continuing our 83 years of @British_Airways service to the island, a good partner even during trying times.”
The tweet came after the British Broadcasting Corporation reported a memo from the head of BA at Gatwick was sent to airline staff.
Operations at the airport, which is about 30 miles south of London, were suspended last month.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Transport said last night: “The Ministry of Tourism and Transport is aware of speculation surrounding the possible closure of Gatwick airport and the impact to Bermuda.
“Government can assure the people of Bermuda that the closure of Gatwick will not prevent direct travel on British Airways between Bermuda, the UK and Europe.”
Lawrence Scott, a Progressive Labour Party MP and chairman of the Bermuda Airport Authority, said in a Facebook Live conversation earlier: “The shifting from one airport to the other by British Airways should not have a major impact on the island.
“What we are actually seeing is probably just how the landscape in the aviation industry is going to change.”
He added that the “major players” in the airline sector before Covid-19 may not be the same as those on the other side of the pandemic.
Mr Scott said that the Government was looking at “other service providers to Britain to try to diversify” service options.
The BBC said BA told workers: “As you know, we suspended our Gatwick flying schedule at the start of April and there is no certainty as to when or if these services can or will return.”
Its story added that, in a separate letter to air crew, the airline warned that a quarter of its 4,300 pilots were expected to lose their jobs.
BA's letter said: “We need to ensure that our remaining operation is efficient, flexible and cost-competitive to enable us to survive in an increasingly lean and unpredictable industry.”
BA said earlier it would cut up to 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce because of reduced business owing to the impact on travel of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The BBC added that the airline has flown from Gatwick “for decades”.
A spokeswoman for BA in Bermuda did not respond to a request for comment by press time.