Low-fare carrier easyJet is to boost capacity in the western French seaport of La Rochelle during the summer 2015 season after a successful trial of a service to Geneva last year. The airline will more than double its capacity on the Swiss route increasing two-way seats on the route from 6,240 in summer 2014 to 12,696 in summer 2015, a 103.5 per cent growth.
After three years of talks, easyJet launched the two month trial of flights on the route from June 25, 2014. This summer’s significantly enhanced programme has been designed to meet the strong demand on the route with saw approximately 5,000 passengers make use of the flights last year, with average loads of around 80 per cent through the season.
The expanded schedules for summer 2015 will see easyJet launch the route six weeks earlier than last year from May 14, 2015, offer a third weekly rotation in July and August and deploy a larger Airbus A320 on almost two thirds of the flights.
The revised operation is expected to boost passenger traffic at La Rochelle’s Île de Ré Airport by around 6,000 this year and it will complement the airline’s other seasonal routes from the facility to Bristol and London Gatwick in the UK.
easyJet first launched flights to La Rochelle in July 2006 with its connection from Bristol and added the London link from July 2007. Both flights are operated on a seasonal basis. The airline last year accounted for a 13.2 per cent share of capacity from Île de Ré Airport, but this will grow to a forecasted 18.0 per cent this year, based on published schedules and see it become the second largest operator from the western French city.
In the chart, below, we highlight the largest carriers at La Rochelle’s Île de Ré Airport by annual departure capacity and look at how availability has changed over the past ten years.