easyJet has announced massive expansion from the North West of England, with the addition of new aircraft to its long-established base at Liverpool John Lennon Airport as well as the opening of a base at Manchester International Airport.The move will make easyJet the biggest airline operating in the North West, carrying over 4 million passengers each year.
easyJet currently operates eight aircraft from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, offering a choice of 20 routes to main city airports across Europe and carrying around 2.5 million passengers a year. By 2010, easyJet will base a total of 10 aircraft in Liverpool.
Today, easyJet also announces that it will establish a new base at Manchester. In October easyJet announced its intention to buy the British Airways franchise operator, GB Airways, which has a two-aircraft based at Manchester. easyJet intends to maintain the GB Airways operation at Manchester and will add a further three aircraft, bringing the total number of aircraft based at Manchester to five by 2010.
This means that by 2010, easyJet will have 15 aircraft operating through the two principal airports in the North West, giving it access to a catchment area of some 8 million people within a 60-minute drive. The airline will carry over 4 million passengers on roughly 40 routes each year and will employ, directly and indirectly, around 4,000 people in the region.
GB Airways will continue to operate all routes under the British Airways brand until 29 March. After this, subject to regulatory approval, the GB flights will operate under the easyJet brand and all customers who have booked to travel with GB Airways next summer will be given the choice of flying with easyJet at the same times or else receive a refund. By winter 2008, GB Airways will be fully integrated into the easyJet business model subject to regulatory clearance.
Mike Campbell, easyJet People Director, who advised the staff in Manchester of the news today, commented:
“easyJet recognises the strong demand for low-cost convenient services from the North West, the GB operation at Manchester provides us with a great base on which we can build and tap in to a new market.
“easyJet remains committed to our base at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and by launching additional operations from Manchester, we can make it even easier for everyone in the North West to have access to easyJet services from their local airport, giving consumers the opportunity to explore Europe for less.”