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British Airways Enters The 'No Frills' Market

(c) Sky News 2013

British Airways has launched a new "hand baggage only" fare in an attempt to claw back ground lost to budget carriers.

The new type of fare is now available for flights from Gatwick to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin for travel from February 26.

Prices start from £39 one-way to Amsterdam and Turin, £45 for Jersey, £49 for Dubrovnik and £69 to Tunis.

The discount compared to fares including a piece of checked-in luggage varies between £9 and £15 depending on the route, BA said.

The announcement coincides with the transfer from Heathrow of five Airbus A319s for the Gatwick short-haul fleet.

Peter Simpson, director of Gatwick for British Airways, said: "The introduction of our hand baggage only fare is all about giving our customers more freedom to choose the kind of flying they want.

"Many British Airways customers on Gatwick short-haul breaks choose not to check in a bag as they're already taking advantage of our generous two-bag hand luggage policy. Those who still want to check in a bag will simply pay the same price they do now."

The move comes as BA struggles to compete with the growth of Ryanair, easyJet and other budget airlines offering a limited number of amenities in exchange for lower ticket prices.

The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), has been hit by industrial action in recent years amid plans to cut jobs.

Its parent company has also had to deal with ongoing strife involving its sister airline, Spanish carrier Iberia, after workers started rolling strikes on Monday.

The IAG share price rose more than 1% after BA confirmed the new airfare structure.

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