Coronavirus: British Airways grounds all flights from Gatwick Airport

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
British Airways planes grounded at Bournemouth Airport on 28 March, in Bournemouth, England. (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

British Airways (IAG.L) has announced it is temporarily suspending flights from Gatwick Airport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick,” a British Airways spokesman said. It will however continue to operate some flights in and out of Heathrow.

Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport after Heathrow, plans to shut down one of its two terminals on Wednesday 1 April.

Like all airlines, British Airways has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic; its parent company IAG said that its flight schedule would be cut by 75% in the next two months.

British Airways is one of the airlines helping the government to bring home hundreds of thousands of British people stranded abroad.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday 30 March that the government would spend around £75m ($92.1m) to repatriate British people, from backpackers to elderly couples stuck on cruise ships. He noted that the UK has already helped bring 150,000 home from Spain.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK government unveils £75m airlift repatriation plan to rescue Britons abroad

“Where commercial flights are no longer running the government will provide financial support for special charter flights to bring UK nationals back at home,” Raab said.

EasyJet (EZJ.L) announced this week that it would now ground its entire fleet, putting its cabin crew on a two month leave of absence, while Ryanair (RYA.L) has grounded 90% of its planes.

Read more: EasyJet grounds all flights after repatriating 45,000 customers

The International Air Transport Association says that that airlines could lose between $63bn and $113bn in revenues as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of airlines have already collapsed or are seeking state aid amid the spread of COVID-19. Flybe was pushed into administration at the beginning of March, while major international carriers, such as Virgin Atlantic are seeking state help. German flag carrier Lufthansa said it may need to request state aid, with chief executive Carsten Spohr that the coronavirus crisis will “sustainably and structurally change our industry.”