easyJet Renews its Activities at Liverpool as it Prepares for UK Winter Growth

UK low-fare carrier easyJet has signed a new nine-year agreement that will see the continued expansion of its operations from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.  To coincide with this long-term commitment to Liverpool, easyJet have also announced the launch of a new twice weekly route to Larnaca, in Cyprus, from November 2, 2013.  The new business framework was announced as the carrier celebrated the launch of its new flights from Liverpool to Newquay and Nantes earlier this month 

Like Liverpool John Lennon, Larnaca is also part of Vantage Airport Group’s global network of airports and easyJet’s link between the sisters will be the first scheduled air service between Liverpool and the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

“The Airport has worked in partnership with easyjet for over 15 years and we have seen both our businesses expand dramatically during this time.  This latest agreement shows their continued commitment towards sustaining and growing their business here at Liverpool and we look forward to seeing more easyJet passengers and destinations over the next nine years and beyond,” said Matthew Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

“Liverpool was one of easyJet’s original bases and remains one of our largest bases in Europe.  We are pleased to have secured a new agreement with John Lennon Airport which outlines our long term commitment to Liverpool and allows easyJet to add exciting new destinations such as Larnaca.”

Ali Gayward
Commercial Manager, easyJet

According to easyJet the new agreement will enable the carrier “to look at new route opportunities to grow the business from Liverpool over the long term,” building on its already well-established base.  The carrier first launched its flights from Liverpool nearly 16 years ago with services to Amsterdam and Nice in October 1997. In their first full year of operation it carried almost 140,000 passengers on flights from and to Liverpool.  Last year easyJet carried over 17 times that figure with over 2.4 million passengers choosing to fly on their Liverpool services across a network that now cover 30 destinations.

“Liverpool was one of easyJet’s original bases and remains one of our largest bases in Europe.  We are pleased to have secured a new agreement with John Lennon Airport which outlines our long term commitment to Liverpool and allows easyJet to add exciting new destinations such as Larnaca,” said Ali Gayward, Commercial Manager, easyJet.

Alongside the new Cypriot service from Liverpool, easyJet will also introduce new winter flights from four of its other UK bases, including its only current link to Romania with a return of services to the capital city, Bucharest.  The low-fare carrier previously served the city from its European bases in Madrid, Milan and London, the latter route from Gatwick Airport operating between October 2007 and June 2008.  However, flights to Bucharest ended in January 2012 with the termination of the Madrid service.

It is understood that yields were not particularly strong on the flights to Romania and limited ancillary and onboard sales meant that they were not sustainable at that time.  However, with the removal of the seven-year transitional restriction on free movement of Romanian citizens and the rest of the European Union set at its accession on January 1, 2007, there is expected to be a growth in demand to and from the country.

easyJet will offer a four times weekly link between London Gatwick and Bucharest from October 17, 2013.  It will not face any direct competition on the airport pair although British Airways and Tarom also serve the Romanian capital from London Heathrow, Wizz Air has flights from London Luton, while the recently restructured Blue Air also serves the latter market.  According to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, over 500,000 passengers travelled between Bucharest and the London airports in 2012, up 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

Elsewhere, easyJet will also introduce a four times weekly service between London Luton and Venice from February 13, 2014; a weekly link between Manchester and Lyon from December 14, 2013 and a twice weekly route from Newcastle to Tenerife South from November 6, 2013. 

“We’ve already carried nearly 34 million passengers from across our network of 11 UK bases in the past year and we are hugely excited to be in a position to expand our destinations further to offer more choice to our customers this winter.  Bucharest marks an exciting addition to the easyJet flight schedule and all routes are destinations our customers tell us they want to visit so we expect them to be popular choices,” said Paul Simmons, easyJet’s UK Director.

The flight to Venice from London Luton - which this week celebrated its 75th anniversary - has been a long called for service by the local market.  The Italian city’s Marco Polo Airport is already linked to City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Southend airports but up until now only charter providers have served the destination from Luton.  easyJet already serves Venice from the UK with regular flights from London Gatwick, London Southend and Manchester

The weekly Manchester – Lyon link will see easyJet join bmi regional on the route, but both carriers will be serving different markets with bmi focusing predominantly on the business market with double daily weekday flights using 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145s, while easyJet’s frequency will mean it is likely to only target the increasing leisure demand into east-central France during the winter for access to the popular ski resorts in the region.  According to UK CAA data, just over 12,000 passengers flew on this route in 2012.

The last of easyJet’s new routes will see the carrier continue its recent network growth at its Newcastle base, which was inherited when it acquired Go, the former low-cost division of British Airways.  Although it has scaled-back operations in past years it has shown its intent to expand this year with some new air services.  The link to Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, will see it compete with leisure carriers Jet2.com, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways in a market of over 155,000 passengers in 2012.