has informed Zurich Airport that it is withdrawing its London Gatwick service due to an excessive increase in landing charges at Zurich since the route started in February 2001, making it impossible for easyJet to offer low fares to customers.
The service will cease on 27th March 2004.
A previously-profitable service has been impacted by a 132% increase in passenger fees at Zurich in only two years - including an increase of over 60% in the last few months. This is on top of onerous operating restrictions imposed on airlines - restrictions in over-flying southern Germany and a strict curfew.
easyJet will now use the scarce resource of its Gatwick slots for another service, to be announced in due course. The route from Zurich to London Luton is unaffected.
Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said:
“As a low-cost airline, we are always aiming to decrease our cost-base and the level of airport charges at Zurich (well in excess of two-thirds of the average fare) has made the service unsustainable.
“We have always made it clear that our future lies in working with airports that share our vision and our ability to deliver the provision of appropriate infrastructure being charged at the appropriate price to fit market conditions.
“In recent years, airport expansion in Zurich has created facilities which are simply not appropriate for the current customer base. Low-cost airline customers are not prepared to pay for terminal facilities designed a few years ago for Swissair.”