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British Airways to stop serving Gatwick

UK News | Published:

Demand for air travel has collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A British Airways plane at Gatwick

British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from Gatwick.

The carrier is one of many that are to stop serving the UK’s second busiest airport due to the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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

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

The airline will keep equipment for essential functions at the airport, such as maintenance, towing and cleaning, to enable it to restart operations quickly.

Just 33 flights were due to take off or land at the West Sussex airport on Tuesday, according to aviation data provider FlightStats.

From Wednesday, Gatwick’s runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm.

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The airport will also close one of its two terminals.

The measures will be in place for a minimum of one month.

Airports are responding to the decision by airlines to suspend the majority of their flights due to demand plummeting and countries around the world introducing travel restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

London City Airport closed its runway to all commercial and private flights last week.

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Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4.30pm and 9.30pm.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast the Government is having “active and ongoing discussions” with airlines and airports “to try to ensure that we come out of this and there’s a proper market, proper competition still available”.

But he said he expects shareholders to “do their bit”, adding: “It can’t be right that in the good times the shareholders pick up the advantage, and in the bad times the taxpayer has to pick up the cost”.

Mr Shapps also revealed that a support package to get the bus industry “on to a stable footing” will be announced in the coming days, although he declined to provide any details.

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