Travel companies demand rethink on BA’s Manchester Gatwick cancellation

Travel agents with business interests in the northwest of England have called on British Airways to rethink the cancellation of its service between Manchester and Gatwick.

BA cancelled the route at the end of March, and as the national flag carrier was the only airline to offer the service, the region’s travel agents are concerned that the lack of a connection will hit their sales of packages that are dependent on a Gatwick flight. These include Caribbean destinations, as well as certain other destinations in Europe and America. Clients in the northwest that sign up for these holidays will now have to fly to Europe to make a connection, or use land-based transport to travel to Gatwick airport, which is to the south of London.

Some agents have reported that they are resorting to booking coaches to Gatwick, which involves overnight travel, or flights from Manchester to Heathrow airport with a coach connection to Gatwick. Despite agents reporting a drop in business by as much as 50 percent, BA is currently showing no sign of backing down on its decision to cancel the three-times-daily flights.

In a statement reported by Travelweekly, the airline said, ‘The three-a-day Manchester-Gatwick service was withdrawn from the start of the summer schedule this year as it had not performed well enough for us to continue to operate it.

‘As part of British Airways current strategy we are focusing on serving routes that are profitable to us and utilising our aircraft more effectively elsewhere. Obviously this has had an impact on passengers who have to find alternative ways of getting to Gatwick. British Airways does operate 11 flights a day from Manchester to Heathrow where there are excellent transport links to Gatwick.

‘There are no plans to reinstate the Manchester-Gatwick route or to start direct flights from Manchester to the Caribbean.’