In the News
easyJet goes Worldwide
If you were running a business, and knew that there was an opportunity to expand your services to 70mn potential customers who were passing your door, you would try to find a way to offer that service. That is the incentive for easyJet to team up with low-cost long-haul carriers Norwegian Air Shuttle and Canada’s WestJet to allow passengers to book connecting flights on a combined ticket, in a new service called Worldwide by easyjet.
The initial offering is available for passengers flying with easyJet through Gatwick, which is their biggest hub. It will enable passengers flying from Europe to connect to the US, South America or Asia, by buying one ticket through easyJet’s website. This enables them to challenge the traditional global carriers who operate networks such as IAG, Star Alliance and Oneworld, which offer global connections through interline and code-share agreements.
Gatwick has a product called GatwickConnects, launched in 2015, that helps passengers self-connecting from one flight to another at the airport. This suits the easyJet model as it allows passengers who have paid to check in luggage on their flight to collect their bags at Gatwick and hand them to the GatwickConnects desk to be loaded on to the connecting flight, rather than pay for that service to be carried out for them. They will also insist on a minimum two-and-a-half hour period between flights at Gatwick to minimise the risk of missed connecting flights.
They plan to extend the offering to two of Europe's busiest airports, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam's Schipol, as well as Milan, Geneva and Barcelona. And they seem to have stolen a march on Ryanair who have been talking of just this kind of link for a while and have a partnership with AirEuropa who operate long-haul flights out of Madrid. But Ryanair have not managed to bring it to the market yet - according to the FT, the main blocks to them doing so have been difficulties with technology, airport co-operation and compensation liability in the even that the connecting flights are cancelled or missed. EasyJet have benefitted from Gatwick already having a proven connecting service in place that they can make use of.
The destinations which can now be booked on EasyJet's website include New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Toronto and Singapore. The BBC quote Peter Duffy, EasyJet's chief commercial officer,who says that the service "will shake up the market." It is over 20 years since EasyJet launched and brought creative disruption to challenge and shake up the traditional flag carrier airlines - here they go again.