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EasyJet (UK)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the British airline. For the Swiss affiliate airline, see EasyJet Switzerland. For the American Quarter Horse, see Easy Jet. For other uses, see Easy Jet (disambiguation).
"Ezy" redirects here. For the commune in northern France, see Ézy-sur-Eure.
EasyJet Airline Company Limited
IATA ICAO Callsign
U2[1] EZY EASY
Founded March 1995; 22 years ago (March 1995)
AOC # 2091
Operating bases
Fleet size 240
Destinations 134
Company slogan "europe by easyJet"
"business by easyJet"
"This is Generation easyJet"
"Come On Let's Fly"
"The web's favourite airline"
Parent company EasyJet plc
Headquarters London Luton Airport
Luton, United Kingdom
Key people
Revenue £4.669 billion (2016)[3]
Operating income £495 million (2016)[3]
Net income £427 million (2016)[3]
Employees 10,273 (2016)[3]
Website www.easyjet.com

EasyJet (styled as easyJet; LSEEZJ) is a British airline, operating under the low-cost carrier model, based at London Luton Airport.[4] It operates domestic and international scheduled services on over 820 routes in more than 30 countries.[5][6] easyJet plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.[7] easyGroup Holdings Ltd (the investment vehicle of the airline's founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his family) is the largest shareholder with a 34.62% stake (as of July 2014).[8] It employs nearly 11,000 people, based throughout Europe but mainly in the UK.[9]

EasyJet has seen expansion since its establishment in 1995, having grown through a combination of acquisitions[10][11] and base openings fuelled by consumer demand for low-cost air travel. The airline, along with associate company easyJet Switzerland, operates more than 200 aircraft,[12] mostly Airbus A319.[12] It has 28 bases across Europe, the largest being Gatwick.[13] In 2014 the airline carried more than 65 million passengers,[14] making it the second-largest airline in Europe by number of passengers carried, behind Ryanair.[15]

EasyJet was featured in the television series Airline broadcast on ITV which followed the airline's operations at London Luton and later at other bases. In November 2016, ITN Productions announced a new TV series to be broadcast on ITV in 2017 exploring what it takes to become a pilot at the airline. The current working title of the series is "easyJet: Inside the Cockpit" and will feature unprecedented access to the easyJet pilot training scheme using unique, in-cockpit footage.[16]

History

Origins

The airline was established in 1995, the first company in what would later become the easyGroup conglomerate. It was launched by Greek Cypriot businessman Stelios Haji-Ioannou with two wet leased Boeing 737-200 aircraft, initially operating two routes: London Luton Airport to Glasgow and Edinburgh. In April 1996, the first wholly owned aircraft was delivered to the airline, enabling its first international route, to Amsterdam. Until October 1997, the aircraft were operated by GB Airways and subsequently by Air Foyle, as easyJet had not yet received its Air Operator's Certificate.[17]

EasyJet was floated on the London Stock Exchange on 5 November 2000.[17] In October 2004 the FL Group, owner of the airlines Icelandair and Sterling, purchased an 8.4% stake in the airline.[18] Over the course of 2005, FL increased its share in the company periodically to 16.9%,[18] fuelling speculation that it would mount a takeover bid for the UK carrier.[19] However, in April 2006 the threat of takeover receded as FL sold its stake for 325 million, securing a profit of 140m on its investment.[20] In November 2005, Ray Webster stood down after 10 years as chief executive officer (CEO) and was replaced by former RAC plc CEO, Andrew Harrison.[21]

Expansion and acquisitions

easyJet has expanded since its establishment, driven by demand from both the United Kingdom and continental Europe. As part of this, the airline has also purchased several rivals, including GB Airways.

In March 1998, easyJet purchased a 40% stake in Swiss charter airline TEA Basle for three million Swiss francs. The airline was renamed easyJet Switzerland and commenced franchise services on 1 April 1999, having relocated its headquarters to Geneva International Airport. This was easyJet's first new base outside the United Kingdom.[17] In 2002, rival airline Go Fly was purchased for £374 million; the airline inherited three new bases from Go, at Bristol Airport, East Midlands Airport and London Stansted Airport. The acquisition of Go almost doubled the number of Boeing 737-300 aircraft in the easyJet fleet.[10][22]

In 2002, the airline opened its base at Gatwick Airport, and between 2003 and 2007 opened bases in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, establishing a presence in continental Europe.[17] In 2007, the airline claimed to be operating more flights per day than any other European airline.[23]

On 25 October 2007 easyJet purchased the entire share capital of GB Airways from the Bland Group. The deal was worth £103.5 million and used by the airline to expand operations at Gatwick,[24] and also to establish a base at Manchester Airport.[11][25][26][27][28]

In June 2011, the airline opened its eleventh British base at London Southend Airport, offering flights to Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast, Faro, Málaga, Jersey, Palma de Majorca and Ibiza.[29]

In March 2013, the airline was promoted to the FTSE 100 and launched its 100th route from Gatwick Airport, offering flights directly from London to Moscow.[30]

Corporate affairs

Business strategy

EasyJet, like Ryanair, uses a business model pioneered by Southwest Airlines. Both airlines have adapted this model for the European market through further cost-cutting measures, such as not selling connecting flights or providing complimentary snacks on board. The key points of this business model are high aircraft utilisation, quick turnaround times, charging for extras (such as priority boarding, hold baggage and food) and keeping operating costs low.[31] One main difference easyJet and Ryanair have from Southwest is they both fly a young fleet of aircraft. Southwest has an average fleet age of 11.9 years[32] whereas Ryanair's and easyJet's average fleet ages are just a little over six years each.[33]

Initially, easyJet's employment strategy was to maintain control with minimal union involvement. In recent years, the airline has adopted a different approach with a strategy in place to accommodate unions.[23]

While the two airlines share a common business charter and concept, easyJet's strategy differs from Ryanair's in several areas. The most noticeable is that easyJet flies mainly to the primary airports in the cities that it serves, for the convenience of passengers, while Ryanair often chooses secondary airports to further reduce costs. For example, in servicing Paris, easyJet flies to Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport, the primary airports, while Ryanair flies to the smaller Beauvais-Tillé Airport, 85 km and a 75-minute bus journey from Paris.

Originally, much like Southwest, easyJet did not allocate seats passengers took any available seats, with the option to pay for "Speedy Boarding" and be first onto the aircraft. Since 2012, all passengers are allocated numbered seats before boarding commences, as it was found that this does not slow down boarding times and could earn more revenue than Speedy Boarding. Passengers can pay an additional fee for certain seats such as the front few rows and overwing seats (which have extra legroom).[34]

Financial performance
easyJet financial performance
Year ended Passengers flown[nb 1] Load factor Turnover (£m) Profit/loss before tax (£m) Net profit/loss (£m) Basic EPS (p)
30 September 2016 73,137,826 91.6% 4,669 495 427 108.4
30 September 2015 68,629,825 91.5% 4,686 686 548 139.1
30 September 2014 64,769,065 90.6% 4,527 581 450 114.5
30 September 2013 60,757,809 89.3% 4,258 478 398 101.3
30 September 2012 58,399,840 88.7% 3,854 317 255 62.5
30 September 2011 54,509,271 87.3% 3,452 248 225 52.5
30 September 2010 48,754,366 87.0% 2,973.1 154.0 121.3 28.4
30 September 2009 45,164,279 85.5% 2,666.8 54.7 71.2 16.9
30 September 2008 43,659,478 84.1% 2,362.8 110.2 83.2 19.8
30 September 2007 37,230,079 83.7% 1,797.2 201.9 152.3 36.62
30 September 2006 32,953,287 84.8% 1,619.7 129.2 94.1 23.18
30 September 2005 29,557,640 85.2% 1,314.4 67.9 42.6 10.68
30 September 2004 24,343,649 84.5% 1,091.0 62.2 41.1 10.34
30 September 2003 20,332,973 84.1% 931.8 51.5 32.4 8.24
30 September 2002 11,350,350 84.8% 551.8 71.6 49.0 14.61
30 September 2001 7,115,147 83.03% 356.9 40.1 37.9 15.2
30 September 2000 5,600,000 263.7 22.1 22.1 11.9
Head office

EasyJet's head office is Hangar 89 (H89), a building located on the grounds of London Luton Airport in Luton, Bedfordshire; the hangar is located 150 metres (490 ft) from easyLand, the previous headquarters of the airline. Hangar 89, built in 1974, has 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of office space and can house three aircraft the size of an Airbus A319 at one time. When easyJet received H89, it had a 1970s-style office setup. The airline modernised the building and painted it orange.[35]

Marketing

EasyJet's early marketing strategy was based on "making flying as affordable as a pair of jeans" and urged travellers to "cut out the travel agent". Its early advertising consisted of little more than the airline's telephone booking number painted in bright orange on the side of its aircraft.[17]

The Airline TV series created by LWT and filmed between 1999 and 2007 made easyJet a household name in the United Kingdom. The series, while not always portraying the airline in a positive light, did much to promote it during this time.[36] The airline has used a number of slogans since its establishment, including "The Web's Favourite Airline", "Come on, lets fly" and "To Fly, To Save" (a cheeky take on British Airways' slogan "To Fly, To Serve"). This was then followed by "[something] by easyJet", with "Europe by easyJet" and "business by easyJet" being the most widely used.

It currently uses the slogan "This is Generation easyJet".

Environment

In June 2007, easyJet announced plans for construction of its own airliner, dubbed EcoJet. Featuring propfan engines, the EcoJet would feature an improvement in fuel efficiency. It would be constructed with extensive use of carbon fibre composite material. The date for the first flight was to be in 2015.[37] As of October 2014, no concrete information has been released on the proposed airliner.

The airline offers carbon offsetting to its customers' trips for a surcharge via a calculator that estimates a passenger's carbon footprint.[38]

In February 2011, the airline painted eight of its aircraft with a lightweight, thin "revolutionary nano technology coating" polymer. It works by reducing build-up of debris and reduces drag across the surface of the aircraft, thus reducing the fuel bill. It was estimated the airline could save 12% annually, equating to a £14 million reduction in fuel costs. The coating has already been used on US military aircraft and if successful easyJet would apply the paint to its whole fleet.[39]

Criticisms

EasyJet has come under criticism in Germany for not observing European Union law on compensation (and assistance to passengers) in cases of denied boarding, delays or cancellations (Regulation 261/2004). In the case of cancellation, passengers should be reimbursed within one week. In 2006, the airline did not always refund tickets in a timely fashion. Passengers occasionally had to wait longer for reimbursement of their expenses.[40][41]

EasyJet has campaigned to replace the air passenger duty (APD) tax in the UK with a new tax that would vary depending on distance travelled and aircraft type.[42]

In July 2008, the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticised a press campaign by the airline, over a misleading environmental claim that its aircraft released 22% fewer emissions than rival airlines. The figures used were not based on emissions produced by an easyJet aircraft or emissions produced by the airline overall as the advertisement implied, and ASA declared that the airline had broken advertising rules. The judgement that followed reprimanded the airline in April 2007 after it made comments that its aircraft created 30% less pollution per passenger than some of its rivals.[43]

In July 2011, the airline tried to refuse carriage of a boy with muscular dystrophy because he had an electric wheelchair.[44] In separate incidents in 2012, paralympians received similar treatment,[45] and a French court found the airline guilty of three counts of disability discrimination.[46] In January 2017 the company was fined 60,000 by another French court because it had refused to allow a disabled passenger to board in 2010. The company cited security concerns and internal regulations; and said it would not appeal against the ruling.[47]

In September 2013, it was reported that a passenger who sent a tweet complaining about the airline after his flight was delayed said he was initially told he would not be allowed to board the aircraft because of the posting.[48]

European AOC

Following the UKs referendum vote to leave the European Union easyJet plans to establish an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in another EU member state. This will secure the flying rights of the 30% of easyJet's network that remains wholly within and between EU states, excluding the UK. easyJet expects a one-off cost around £10 million over two years with up to £5 million incurred in the 2017 financial year. The primary driver of the cost is the re-registering of aircraft in an EU AOC jurisdiction.[49] There has been no official announcement where this new AOC will be based, easyJet has however confirmed that its headquarters will remain at Luton Airport.[50]

Destinations

Main article: EasyJet destinations

easyJet flies in a point to point model rather than the hub and spoke model. Its five largest bases are London Gatwick, MilanMalpensa, London Luton, Bristol Airport and London Stansted. ToulouseBlagnac Airport is currently the airline's smallest base with two aircraft.

The airline has 19 European bases. Despite it being a British airline and having a significant presence there, it has a significant presence in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and many other European countries. The United Kingdom is its biggest market, containing the airline's largest base and nine others as well as a total of six other non-base airports. Its three largest British bases in order of size are London Gatwick and London Luton airports followed by Bristol Airport. LondonStansted was once the second largest base but has seen significant reduction in recent years with flights being moved to Gatwick and the newest UK base, Southend which is in the same catchment area as Stansted.

Codeshare agreements

In 2013 easyJet entered a commercial agreement with Transaero Airlines to set up a codeshare agreement[51][52] whereby Transaero acquired the right to sell a certain number of seats on easyJet's Moscow (Domodedovo) London (Gatwick) route. This was the first codeshare agreement for easyJet and it terminated when Transaero Airlines ceased to operate in October 2015.[53] easyJet ceased all flights to Moscow in March 2016.[54]

easyJet has a reward miles sharing agreement with Emirates. easyJet's website states: "Skywards members will be able to use their Skywards Miles towards any easyJet flights. Flying with Emirates to one of over 125 destinations across 76 countries including Dubai, Singapore, Delhi, Bangkok, Sydney and Cape Town will earn you miles to make connecting across Europe on our network of 600 routes between 130 airports in over 30 countries more affordable."[55]

Fleet

The easyJet fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of March 2017):[56][57]

easyJet fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers
(Economy)
Notes
Airbus A319-100 133 156 Largest A319 operator[57]
Airbus A320-200 107 27 180 All to be converted to 186-seat layout by 2018.[58]
186
Airbus A320neo 130 TBA Deliveries June 20172022
Total 240 157

EasyJet is the largest operator of the Airbus A319.[57] Associate company easyJet Switzerland operates another 11 Airbus A319s and 15 Airbus A320 aircraft.[59]

Fleet strategy and aircraft orders

In common with other Low-cost carriers, easyJet has a strategy of operating just one aircraft type. Initially it used Boeing 737 aircraft exclusively, but in October 2002 it ordered 120 Airbus A319 aircraft, plus 120 options.[17][60] Since then, the Boeings have been phased out and all orders have been from the Airbus A320 family. Through the acquisition of GB Airways, easyJet inherited nine Airbus A320 and six Airbus A321 aircraft. This gave the airline some time to evaluate the feasibility of operating these larger aircraft. Based on this evaluation, easyJet exchanged 25 A319 orders for A320s in July 2008 and later removed the A321 aircraft from the fleet.[11][25][27][28]

On 18 June 2013 the airline announced an intention to acquire subject to shareholder approval 35 Airbus A320 aircraft, for delivery between 2015 and 2017, and 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft for delivery between 2017 and 2022.[61] As part of the agreement the airline will have purchase rights on a further 100 A320neo aircraft.[61] The current generation A320s and fifty of the A320neos will replace current aircraft.[61]

Formerly operated

EasyJet has operated the following types of aircraft:[62]

Fleet history
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A321-200 2008 2010 Inherited from GB Airways
Boeing 737-300 1996 2007 Replaced by A319s
Boeing 737-700 2000 2011 Replaced by A319s and A320s

Services

Booking

Initially booking was by telephone only, with all of the airline's aircraft painted with the booking telephone number. There is no incentive for travel agents to book flights on the airline because it does not pay commissions, a standard practice for low cost carriers.[17]

In December 1997, one of easyJet's design and adverting agencies suggested to Stelios Haji-Ioannou that he should consider trialling a website for direct bookings. Haji-Ioannou's reply was "The Internet is for nerds, it will never make money for my business!". Other executives of the airline saw the potential and approved a website trial involving putting a different telephone reservations number on the website, to track success. Once Haji-Ioannou saw the results he changed his mind and an e-commerce website capable of offering real-time online booking went live in April 1998the first such website for a low cost carrier in Europe.[17][63][64]

In December 2001, the airline switched from a third-party reservation system to an in-house system.[65] Internet bookings were priced cheaper than booking by telephone, to reflect the reduced call centre costs; and the aircraft were repainted with the web address. Within a year over 50% of bookings were made using the website; by April 2004 the figure had jumped to 98%.[17]

Cabin and onboard services

easyJet's aircraft cabins are configured in a single class, high density layout.[66]

The airline's main fleet, comprising Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, carry up to 156 and 180/186 passengers respectively, depending on layout. A typical Airbus A319 carries approximately 140 passengers in a single class configuration, but as the airline does not serve meals on its shorter flights, it opted for smaller galleys and had a lavatory installed in unused space at the rear of the aircraft. The space saved by having smaller galleys allowed for the installation of 156 seats. Due to this seating arrangement, to satisfy safety requirements the airline's Airbus A319 aircraft have two pairs of overwing exits, instead of the standard one-pair configuration found on most Airbus A319 aircraft.[57][67][68]

EasyJet does not provide complimentary meals or drinks on its flights (except for some occasional charter flights operated by the airline). Passengers may purchase items on board from the "easyJet Bistro" buy on board programme.[69] Onboard sales are an important part of the airline's ancillary revenue; gifts such as fragrances, cosmetics, gadgets and easyJet-branded items are sold on board, as well as tickets for airport transfer services or train tickets. The airline's monthly inflight magazine is called The Traveller.[70]

The airline had previously provided in-flight entertainment (IFE) in some aircraft (the ex GB Airways fleet), using drop-down screens on some Airbus aircraft; IFE has now been discontinued. The airline offers headphones for purchase, along with a travel pillow and eyeshades, subject to stock.

Frequent flyer / Business travel / Loyalty products

Three distinct loyalty products are offered, tailored towards business- and frequent flyers. These are Flexi Fare, easyJet Plus and a new frequent traveller loyalty programme called Flight Club. Flexi Fare [71] is a type of ticket that is usually more expensive than the regular fare and comparable to a business ticket with other airlines. This ticket offers additional flexibility, including unlimited free date changes within a set period; free route changes; complimentary checked baggage (1x20kg); an increased carry-on baggage allowance; and a £5 on board refreshment voucher. easyJet Plus is an annual subscription product targeted at frequent flyers,[72] both business and leisure. This service offers free allocated seating (including extra legroom), priority check-in, fast track security, speedy boarding and extra cabin baggage. The airline's loyalty programme is called Flight Club.[73] To qualify for this a person must have flown at least twenty times or spent over £1500 on ten flights within 12 months. Benefits include fee-free flight changes; free name changes; and a dedicated contact centre team.

easyJet Hotels and easyJet Holidays

On 14 December 2004, easyJet and Hotelopia, a subsidiary of First Choice Holidays, launched the co-branded easyJetHotels accommodation booking service. easyJetHotels offers accommodation products throughout the airline's network. Customers booking flights through the airline's website are provided with quotes for a number of hotels at their destination. Alternatively, customers can book accommodation separately at the easyJetHotels website.[74][75]

On 28 June 2007, the airline expanded its relationship with Hotelopia by launching easyJetHolidays, which offers Travel Trust Association protected package holidays made up of easyJet flights and Hotelopia accommodation products.[76][77]

On 6 November 2010, the airline started a venture with Low Cost Travel Group, to offer flights dynamically packaged with Low Cost Travel Group's accommodation through the easyJet Holidays website. As of March 2011, easyJet Holidays has provided holidays and city breaks to all of the airline's routes.[78]

Sponsorship

The airline sponsored Luton Town F.C. from the 200910 season to the end of 201516 season.[79] The airline and Manchester Airport have also jointly sponsored Manchester Pride in 2013 and 2014.[80]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Passengers = Earned seats flown, including "no-shows" (empty paid seats), promotional seats and those provided to staff for business travel, for both EasyJet UK and EasyJet Switzerland

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Bibliography

  • Jones, Lois (2007). EasyJet: the Story of Britain's Biggest Low-Cost Airline. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 1-84513-247-5. 

External links


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