easyJet to Open Base at London Southend

UK low-cost carrier easyJet is to launch flights from London Southend Airport and will initially base three aircraft at the Essex facility from April 2012.  The budget carrier expects to operate 70 flights a week and will carry around 800,000 passengers per year to around ten destinations, including Barcelona and Ibiza in Spain and Faro in Portugal, as part of a ten-year partnership.

“We are excited to be opening London Southend as easyJet’s 20th base airport.  The airport is in a fantastic location just outside London with a fast rail link into the city. This is a unique opportunity to offer a world class customer experience, with passengers able to get from the plane to the train in 15 minutes," said Catherine Lynn, Customer and Revenue Director, easyJet.  “Through offering easy and affordable travel, we expect the new routes to appeal to customers in Essex and London looking for a convenient new departure point for many top European destinations.  We also believe that the European city links will also attract a high number of inbound business and leisure passengers to London next year."

NETWORK ANALYSIS: EASYJET FLIGHTS TO CONFIRMED LONDON SOUTHEND DESTINATIONS (non-stop weekly flights)

Destination

London Gatwick

London Luton

London Stansted

Flights

Seats

Flights

Seats

Flights

Seats

Barcelona

35

5,460

14

2,184

14

2,184

Faro

29

4,524

11

1,674

14

2,184

Ibiza

7

1,092

7

1,092

14

2,184


The airline has not yet revealed its precise network from London Southend except for the flights to Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza, all destinations that it already serves from its three other London airports, as the table above shows.  These three destinations have proved successful ingredients in the carrier’s development from its other UK bases.  From Gatwick, Luton and Stansted it currently offers 63 flights per week to Barcelona, 54 to Faro and 28 to Ibiza with a total of more than 22,500 weekly seats already being sold to the three destinations.  It is likely that easyJet will cut some of its capacity at Stansted to incorporate this growth at Southend. 

A further seven destinations are expected to be served from London Southend and details are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks before ticket sales commence at the end of July.  These will comprise a mix of business and leisure markets popular for short breaks and longer holidays as well as seasonal winter only flights for 2012/2013 and will include a mix of domestic and international routes.

"We are delighted to announce easyJet's intent to operate initially three based units out of London Southend, Jonathan Rayner, Head of Business Development, Stobart Air, told The HUB.  "This ten year deal will jump start the airport's growth giving us the critical mass and credibility to grow further. Aligning ourselves with a carrier which has strong brand presence on the continent is vital to stimulate our inbound traffic to London and broaden the scope of the route portfolio."

The announcement is a major milestone for London Southend and follows just months after Aer Arann started the first regular year-round scheduled services from the airport in more than a decade.  The facility is undergoing a major redevelopment that will conclude with the opening of a brand new terminal building and extended runway next year.

And, easyJet are unlikely to be the last airline to introduce flights from London Southend as four or five other carriers are understood to be discussing links to the airport, albeit on a much reduced scale to what the low-cost carrier is planning. 

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