Ryanair launches two Gatwick routes as easyJet spoiler

Ryanair is capitalising on boardroom discontent at easyJet by launching two routes that go head to head with its arch rival.

The services are the Irish carrier’s first to mainland Europe from Gatwick - where easyJet bases 35 aircraft.The routes fly to Barcelona Girona (daily) and Alicante (twice daily) from the 18 December, increasing the number of routes Ryanair operates from Gatwick to five - it currently runs three routes to Ireland (Cork, Dublin and Shannon).

Ryanair chairman Michael O’Leary said: “Ryanair is delighted to announce two new routes to/from London Gatwick to Barcelona and Alicante from 18th December.  In 2009 Ryanair will bring its guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges to 65 million passengers.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, has refused to sign off the annual accounts of easyJet. One of his criticism’s of the board’s accounting policies centres around the other directors’ decision to regard the company as a “single cash generating unit” rather than as a series of businesses, as rival Ryanair does.