Over the past year easyJet has quietly been redefining the possibilities of low-cost travel.
Firstly, with the launch of easyJet Holidays, the organisation took the leap from airline to tour operator – offering a vast wealth of accommodation options to travellers across its route network.
Next the launch of Flexi fares saw the carrier begin to court business travellers keen to minimise costs during an era of economic uncertainty.
Both ambitious expansions were underpinned by a developing route network, which has allowed easyJet to remain nimble when compared to the lumbering legacy airlines it is seeking to replace.
A new base at London Southend Airport is a perfect example, with passengers now offered eight exciting destinations from the new hub.
Strong profits expected this year are in stark contrast to the losses reported across much of the aviation industry.
Industry insiders have also begun to take note, with easyJet recognised as Europe’s Leasing Low-cost Airline for the third consecutive year at the prestigious World Travel Awards.
Here Breaking Travel News takes an in depth look at this most exciting of airlines.
easyJet operates a fleet of over 200 Airbus aircraft
Business Travellers on easyJet
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, easyJet has recently refocused its offering to appeal business travellers.
During the economic downturn – which looks increasingly likely to turn into a double dip recession – an increasing number of companies have naturally sought to reduce costs.
easyJet has recognised this trend, with the launch of new Flexi fare; giving passengers unlimited flexibility to change the date of their flights up to two hours before the scheduled departure time.
Flexi fare passengers also benefit from automatic speedy boarding, no booking fees and a checked in hold bag included at no extra cost.
This is all perfect for business travellers looking to cut costs.
Originally launched through business booking channels, including Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and self booking tools used by business travel companies, Flexi fares are now also available through easyJet.com.
Carolyn McCall, easyJet chief executive said: “We have seen a growing trend of business travellers choosing to fly easyJet.
“By allowing business travellers to book flexible fares on easyJet.com we will ensure that they are always getting the best available price with the flexibility they need.”
With Flexi fares passengers can also make unlimited date changes within a four week time window - one week before and up to three weeks after the original booked travel date.
Carolyn McCall has revolutionised easyJet following her appointment as chief executive in March 2010
Back in the consumer market, easyJet recently linked up with Lowcosttravelgroup, one of the leading online travel companies in the UK, in an attempt to revolutionise the holiday market.
The resulting easyJet Holidays offers consumers competitively priced, flexible and convenient breaks across the extensive route network offered by easyJet.
Unlike traditional holiday brands, with easyJet Holidays, consumers will not only benefit from fully protected holidays with a brand they trust but also increased flexibility and choice.
Passengers can simply choose where they want to go, for how long, and how much they want to pay.
McCall added: “An overhaul of the holiday market has been a long time coming.
“We are confident that the combination of flexibility, exceptional value and choice, together with a state of the art website and call centre, will ensure easyJet Holidays becomes a leading brand in the holiday market within three years.”
Lowcosttravelgroup provides over 10,000 hotels - ranging from luxury five star to great value three star options - with private and shuttle transfer options across all of easyJet’s European, North African and Middle Eastern destinations.
This combination is designed provide customers with the choice and flexibility to enable them to tailor their holidays to the dates and times they want to travel.
easyJet was recognised as Europe’s Leasing Low-cost Airline for the third consecutive year at the World Travel Awards earlier this month
With so much happening easyJet has also been careful to maintain its robust route network – underpinning the success both Flexi fares and easyJet Holidays.
The recently confirmed spring 2012 schedule confirms easyJet will offer around 300 low fare destinations next year – operating more flights than any other UK-based carrier.
From next year additional flights have been added to popular destinations - including Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante and Rome, making Europe more accessible than ever.
Seats are also on sale from easyJet’s newest base, London Southend Airport.
Passengers can chose from right destinations; Amsterdam, Alicante, Barcelona, Belfast, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Mallorca.
Paul Simmons, easyJet’s UK Director, said: “The launch of our spring schedule offers both leisure and business passengers the opportunity to book early to secure the best fares on a wide choice of destinations across Europe and the UK.
“The introduction of our full summer schedule in the coming months will add to this choice and value with more exciting new destinations from airports across the UK.”
In recent months many of these celebrated destinations have also benefited from the launch of new guides from City.Mobi.
For example, the new guides offer visitors to Amsterdam, Belfast and Barcelona up to the minute details on everything from where to eat, when to visit and where to shop to information on exchange rates and the weather.
Airline.City.Mobi also offers passengers access to the whole easyJet network, alongside information from all the major global carriers.
easyJet themselves are no slouches when it comes to mobile access to their website, offering the latest routes, prices and information here.
The new services introduced under the, still relatively new, leadership of Carolyn McCall, appear to be paying dividend.
In the three months to June 30th 2011, total revenue at easyJet grew by 23.2 per cent to £935 million when compared to the previous year.
As a result the airline expects to deliver annual profits of £200-£230 million when it reports its annual results at the end of September.
“Against the backdrop of high fuel prices and an uncertain economic environment, the strength of easyJet’s trading demonstrates it is well placed to succeed,” concluded McCall.