easyJet A320, Wikimedia
UK LCC easyJet will now offer long-haul connections to a variety of global destinations in a program called “Worldwide by easyJet.” The initial iteration of easyJet’s long haul connection program features two launch partners: Norwegian Long Haul and Canadian LCC WestJet. As the program is in the early stages of development, easyJet is, for now, only offering connections at London Gatwick.
The airline is also currently in advanced talks to add various Middle East and Far East carriers the Worldwide by easyJet program. In addition, easyJet will be introducing official inter-network connections at major European focus cities such as Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona.
“We know there is a real customer demand for making flight connections on easyJet easier. Almost 200k easyJet passengers a year already self-connect their easyJet flights through Gatwick Airport. That’s [around] 1% of our passengers at the airport and that doesn’t include those connecting between easyJet and long haul flights,” easyJet CCO Peter Duffy said in a statement.
While connections present easyJet with a large growth opportunity, the airline stressed the importance of preserving operational performance. Connecting passengers will have a minimum wait time of 2h 30m between flights and will have to transfer their luggage from the carousel to the next flight on their own. EasyJet also said it would not delay flights for connecting passengers.
A more traditional model
The rapid growth of the European low cost carriers has pushed them to begin adopting a more traditional legacy model, complete with connections and global partnerships. Now, Ryanair and easyJet are locked in a battle to expand inter-Europe connections and to feed long haul flights. Ryanair has announced it will start feeder flights for Norwegian Long Haul and Aer Lingus by the end of this year, although the rollout has been hampered by technical complications. Ryanair has also begun offering (limited) connections between European destinations.
EasyJet’s aspiration to expand its connections program to the Middle East and Asia represents a major escalation in the LCC “connections battle”, especially with Ryanair’s feeder carrier ambitions seemingly limited to European carriers for now.
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