British Airways closes operations at Gatwick airport indefinitely

British Airways has closed its London Gatwick services and is moving them all to Heathrow.

There the BA operates out of Terminal 5 for most of its flights, with a few out of Terminal 3. 

BA is the British flag carrier and along with Iberia is part of International Airline Group (IAG) which is the third largest in the world. It is the second largest airline in the UK in terms of aircraft and passengers after easyJet, which grounded all its fleet yesterday. IAG's registered offices are in Spain and has its operational headquarters in London

Some BA ground staff at Gatwick will be kept on for maintenance and in order to be ready to resume services as soon as possible. 

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BA moved its operations from Gatwick's North Terminal to the South Terminal a few years ago, making space for easyJet. Now that easyJet has grounded its entire fleet Gatwick is to close its North Terminal. It will only keep its runway open for scheduled flights (mainly Gulf Air and Qatar) and for repatriation flights from 14.00-22.00 each day. Norwegian, which also used Gatwick, has grounded most of its operations. 

Gatwick airport plans to furlough its 2,500 employees in the next few days so that they will be able to take advantage of the government's scheme to pay all furloughed employees 80 per cent of their wages. It is also laying off 200 contractors.

Furlough usually means unpaid leave of absence if requested by an employee. Under the government's new emergency economic measures the state will pay employees 80 per cent of their wages, up to a total of £2,500 a month, if a company puts their jobs on hold for three months. It will also pay national insurance and pensions contributions on top of the 80 per cent wages, as long as employees were on a regular PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) payment scheme as of 28 February 2020 and have a bank account.

Employees are not allowed to undertake any work for the company or for others during this period but may volunteer for work in the NHS without risking payments.

Ph: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

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