British Airways announced today ( Thursday, November 26) that it has reached a conditional agreement to acquire Gatwick-based CityFlyer Express - the first carrier to become a British Airways franchise partner - for £75 million.
The purchase, which is subject to formal approval by the UK`s Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will allow the two airlines to integrate more fully their networks and schedules. The move will also help to maintain Gatwick`s position as one of Europe`s leading airports.
Bob Ayling, British Airways` Chief Executive, said : “I am delighted that we have secured an agreement to purchase CityFlyer Express. When the airline`s backers indicated their interest in selling the company, we took the opportunity to acquire one of the UK`s fastest growing and profitable airlines.
“Today`s announcement is good news for customers, employees and for Gatwick. It will build on the successful five-year relationship between the two companies. No job losses will result from the purchase and neither does it signal a change in our franchise strategy of working with airlines to spread our successful brand.”
CityFlyer Express will continue to operate independently with its own air operators certificate, its own fleet of aircraft, its own board and management team under the direction of Managing Director Brad Burgess. It will also continue to have responsibility for its own safety standards, financial performance and business plan. But in the future it will also be able to enjoy the benefits of being a member of the British Airways group, just as Brymon Airways, its West Country-based franchise, does today.
Brad Burgess said : “For some time now we have been considering how we can expand our business. While our franchise agreement with British Airways provides much operational scope, membership of the British Airways Group will bring substantial long-term benefits.
“The message for our staff is it`s `Business as Usual`. There will be no changes to employment levels as a result of today`s announcement. We will continue to operate from Gatwick`s South Terminal and the existing arrangements we have with local suppliers will remain in place.”