easyJet Introduces New UK Capital Connection

UK low-fare carrier easyJet last week launched a fourth scheduled London link from Edinburgh Airport as it inaugurated flights from its London Southend Airport base to Scotland’s capital city.  The new route was opened on May 2, 2013 and will be operated on a six times weekly schedule bringing the carrier’s total flights between London and Edinburgh to up to 28 a day alongside its existing departures from Gatwick, Luton and Stansted Airports.

In March this year easyJet added a seventh aircraft at its Edinburgh base and launched six new routes in a move which is expected to deliver 140,000 extra visitors to Scotland and generate an additional £90 million for the economy.  Around 85,000 passengers are anticipated to use the new London Southend connection over the next 12 months.

“easyJet is increasing the amount of flights it operates between Edinburgh and London to accommodate the growing demand from business and leisure travellers. By offering flights to four London airports easyJet passengers get complete flexibility over when and where they want to travel, saving them time and money when they land,” said Hugh Aitken, Head of Scotland, easyJet.

Since easyJet began the anchor tenant at the revitalised London Southend last year it has proved that many destinations can be served from the facility alongside other London airports, with each serving their own distinct London low-cost catchment.  The new link will provide travellers from Scotland with the quickest transfer options to the communities along the Essex coast, Thames Estuary and parts of East London.

“London remains a critical market for Scottish businesses and with the developments in East London and the Thames Estuary I am sure this new link will prove popular," said Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Although easyJet will not face any direct competition on the Southend route it will face indirect competition from the significant capacity already available on the Edinburgh – London city pair.  There are currently nine different airlines providing links on the route – some actually operating the flights and others as the marketing brand for the services.  Alongside easyJet’s scheduled activities and the established operations of British Airways to Heathrow, Gatwick and City (the latter operated by its CityFlyer regional division) and CityJet and Loganair for Air France to City, new entrants have comprised Greek carrier Minoan Air to Oxford and most recently Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red offering to Heathrow which is flown by Aer Lingus.

In the table below we look at passenger numbers between to the capitals of England and Scotland and how capacity has developed over the past five years.  In 2012, UK Civil Aviation Authority data shows that almost 2.9 million passengers flew between the two cities - this was down 1.5 per cent on the previous year when increased capacity had seen growth in air travel between all the London markets and Edinburgh. 

An analysis of this month’s flight schedules shows that more than 40,000 seats are available every week between London and Edinburgh on over 300 departures, an average of 40 plus a day.  British Airways holds the largest share with 38.0 per cent of the available capacity followed by easyJet with 33.0 per cent.  Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic link accounts for 15.6 per cent of the capacity, British Airways’ CityFlyer operation at London City has 9.8 per cent, while Air France’s regional partners contribute 2.5 per cent of the available seats.  Minoan Air accounts for the remaining 1.2 per cent with 500 seats being provided on its London Oxford rotations.

SCHEDULED PASSENGER DEMAND AND SEAT CAPACITY BETWEEN EDINBURGH AND LONDON (UK CAA terminal and transit passengers; non-stop departures)

Year

Total Passengers

% Change

Total Annual Passengers

City (LCY)

Gatwick (LGW)

Heathrow (LHR)

Luton (LTN)

Stansted (STN)

2012

2,890,663

(-1.5) %

322,729

696,791

1,254,993

269,797

346,353

2011

2,935,175

6.5 %

344,868

669,068

1,271,459

259,408

390,372

2010

2,755,549

(-7.2) %

334,709

604,073

1,244,793

242,100

329,874

2009

2,969,863

(-5.9) %

326,553

647,908

1,306,065

315,623

373,714

2008

3,156,820

(-7.6) %

371,507

704,906

1,318,962

359,543

401,902

2007

2,890,663

(-1.5) %

353,874

748,309

1,436,598

429,107

448,745


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