Easyjet to introduce larger A321neo aircraft

A321neo-easyjet-2

EasyJet to introduce larger A321neo aircraft

 

Carrier is converting 30 existing A320neo orders into A321neo aircraft with 235 seats.

 

EasyJet is introducing larger aircraft into its fleet with the conversion of an existing order of A320neo aircraft into A321neo. The larger A321neo will have a configuration of 235 seats in contrast ith the A320neos XXX seats. The first

delivery is expected in Summer 2018.  This is part of the existing easyJet Airbus framework agreement signed in 2013.

 

The increase in seats of around 30 percent over an A320 and 50 percent over an A319 is “to continue to deliver growth in slot constrained airports” according to the airport.

 

EasyJet’s total fleet as at 31 March 2017 comprised 266 aircraft, split between 156-seat Airbus A319s, 180-seat A320s and since May 2016, 186-seat A320s.  The 144 A319s are being progressively replaced by A320s, with the first A320neo delivering in June this year and, from summer 2018, A321neos.

 

In the six months to 31 March 2017, EasyJet took delivery of nine 186-seat A320 aircraft, which provide a per seat cost saving of 7% to 8% compared to the A319 (and an equivalent improvement) through economies of scale, efficiencies in crew, ownership, fuel and maintenance.  EasyJet also increased the number of seats on 44 of its existing 180-seat A320s to 186 seats.  The average age of the fleet is seven years.

 

Carolyn McCall, EasyJet’s CEO said:

“These new aircraft will help us deliver our strategy of securing and growing our number one positions at Europe’s leading airports, which are generally slot constrained, while reducing our cost per seat.

“This means we will be able to offer low fares to more people on Europe’s most popular business and leisure routes.

“As importantly, the A321neos will also help us to mitigate our environmental impact by reducing our passengers’ carbon footprint as well as our impact on the communities around the airports we serve.”

Over the next five years EasyJet will continue to reduce operating cost per seat and its passengers’ carbon footprint by improving its fleet mix and ownership structure.

 

easyJet’s total fleet as at 31 March 2017

OwnedFinance leasesOperating leasesTotal 

 

% of fleet

Changes since Sept ‘16Future deliveriesUnexercised purchase rights
A319895514454%
A320 180 seat52186123%(44)
A320 186 seat474106123%5327
A320 neo100100
A321 neo30
1885732669157100
 71%2%27%    
  
  
 
 

 

Easyjet relaunches buy on board

Easyjet buy on board

Easyjet has relaunched its in-flight retail offering, with two new brochures, a price guarantee and a new all-day breakfast option.

Passengers can now browse separate brochures for its Bistro (for food and drink) and Boutique (for “luxuries, gifts and travel essentials) ranges.

The Boutique magazine now features editorial by Grazia’s Health and Beuty director, and a price guarantee, with “a commitment to refund the difference in price if customers are able to find any Boutique product cheaper on the UK high street”.

Meanwhile an all-day breakfast option has been added to its Bistro menu, with a choice of tea, coffee or Tropicana, plus a 9NINE bar or croissant for £3.50, or porridge for £4.

The carrier says it has seen a 12 per cent increase in on board food and drink sales over the past twelve months “due to improved choice and popular brands”.

Customers can also browse Easyjet’s in-flight offering before departure on the carrier’s app.

Earlier this year British Airways launched its buy-on-board menu for short-haul flights – more information on this can be found here.

easyjet.com

Easyjet Plus price increase

Easyjet Plus screenshot

Easyjet Plus price increase

Membership of the Easyjet Plus programme is increasing from £170 per year to £199.

Easyjet Plus, the membership programme for Easyjet flyers, is increasing its membership fee from £170 to £199.

The increase will occur from the next renewal for members.

Easyjet communicated the price increase at the same time as detailing two new benefits of the programme. These are

  • A price promise: “If you find the same flight on easyJet.com at a lower price, we’ll give you the price difference towards your next flight”

and

  • Earlier flight for free: “Get an earlier return flight home on the same day at no extra cost”

The existing benefits continue:

  • Complimentary allocated seating: Upfront, Extra Legroom? You can select any seat on the plane free of charge
  • Dedicated Bag Drop desk: Drop your bags off at the dedicated Bag Drop desks
  • Fast Track security: Fly through security at selected airports^ with Fast Track security
  • Speedy Boarding: Be amongst the first to board to secure locker space
  • Additional cabin bag: Bring a second under seat bag (handbag/laptop) in addition to your main cabin bag (56 x 45 x 25cm)

 

 

Easyjet Flight Club launches

Easyjet-aircraft-2

Easyjet has officially launched its Flight Club programme.

As previously reported (news, February 2016), the Chief Executive of Easyjet, Carolyn McCall DBE, has said that the programme is invitation-only, with the minimum threshold for being invited to join being 20 return flights per year with the airline. Even if a flyer reaches that threshold, it may be limited due to the numbers satisfying that criteria (for more details, click here).

Easyjet Flight Club video

In emails sent out this week, Dame Carolyn says that the Flight Club programme is part of a wider initiative for business travellers, which has also seen the introduction of allocated seating and improved punctuality.

“We are keen to do something to say thank you for our most regular flyers. Flight Club is not like traditional frequent flyer schemes, which you have told us often generate admin, frustration and bureaucracy. Instead it will be a simple, cost effective scheme.”

Easyjet Flight Club benefits

 

The benefits are as detailed previously

  • Free flight changes without paying admin fees
  • Free name changes – up to five name changes per year completely free
  • Price promise: If passengers find the same flight on easyjet.com at a lower price, the price difference can be put forward towards the next flight booked.
  • Previews and special offers
  • Dedicated contact centre team

The emails contain both the dedicated phone number and also each Flight Club member’s customer number.

Flight Club will be rolled out market by market. At present it has not expanded beyond the three markets in which it had been trialled: the UK, France and Switzerland.

To read our interview with Carolyn McCall, DBE, click here.

easyjet.com

Tom Otley

Easyjet Flight Club

Easyjet-aircraft

Some time in the next week or so, a select few of Easyjet’s most frequent flyers will receive their “Flight Club” loyalty programme packs in the post.

The loyalty programme has certainly been thoroughly trialled. It debuted in the UK, France and Switzerland in August 2014 (see news, November, 2014), with some 15,000 flyers as part of that trial (see news). It was then launched officially in November 2015 (see news, November 2015), though at the time the airline declined to say how many members had been invited.

Speaking with Business Traveller at the launch of the carrier’s Venice base earlier this month (see story here), the Chief Executive of Easyjet, Carolyn McCall DBE, said that the programme would continue to be rolled out market by market, and as yet had not expanded beyond the three markets in which it had been trialled: the UK, France and Switzerland.

Part of the reason for Easyjet being so cautious is that it already has a programme in place for frequent flyers – Easyjet Plus – which it earns revenue from (it is currently priced at £170 in the UK, per year).

Nevertheless now seems to be the time that Flight Club will become better known (ironically, the association of its name (a riff on the film Fight Club, where the rule is “No one talks about Fight Club”) still seems to apply. Internally this is because Easyjet does not want to raise expectations amongst its best customers only to disappoint them.

The benefits of the scheme are listed here and include

  • Free flight changes without paying admin fees
  • Free name changes – up to five name changes per year completely free
  • Price promise. If passengers find the same flight on easyjet.com at a lower price, the price difference can be put forward towards the next flight booked.
  • Previews and special offers
  • Dedicated contact centre team
To take one example, providing this last element has been a major challenge, since for each new territory the programme rolls out to, dedicated and trained staff (with the relevant language skills for each new market) need to be in place.

As a result, the new Flight Club is invitation-only, and is only for Easyjet’s most frequent passengers (the minimum requirement being twenty return flights each year).

In addition, the 20 flights is “the minimum threshold,” according to Dame Carolyn. In other words, just because you have had 20 flights this year, you still might not be invoted to join.

“If we had loads of people who had made 50 return flights, then we would limit the number of guests with 20 flights per year that would be invited to join”

It’s also the case that only those booking direct with Easyjet would be invited to join. So if you are making your bookings through a Travel Management Company, Flight Club will remain a rumour.

Interestingly, the Flight Club programme won’t include lounge access.

“We’ve looked at that and it’s not a big demand from our passengers who are very frequent” she said.”They have the airport down to a fine art. They go through fast track and they are landside to airside in five or ten minutes, even in Gatwick, and I say even in Gatwick because it’s our largest airport.”

Despite Easyjet not seeing a demand for lounge access for short haul business, there might be changes for some longer leisure routes.

“We are working with some airports, Gatwick North terminal we will be thinking about what we might do there to satisfy some customers, but we have no plans to put it into Flight Club. There are lots of ways of getting lounge access such as credit cards.”

Finally, despite the introduction of seat selection, and fast track at security, and now a loyallty programme, there will never be a business class on Easyjet. Carriers such as British Airways keep the middle seat in Club Europe free for their business travellers, and Lufthansa offers more leg room (see news, January 2016), but don’t expect Easyjet to follow. If passengers want the middle seat next to them free, Dame Carolyn says they can buy it.

“The system is now set up so it will accept a booking in your name for two seats next to one another”.

Tom Otley

Easyjet launches Venice base

Easyjet-aircraft

Easyjet has launched a new base at Venice Marco Polo airport, with ten new routes and expanded frequency on existing services.

The low-cost carrier will base four A319 aircraft at the airport, and plans to carry 2.2 million passengers to and from the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region this year.

Ten new routes are being introduced, including four-times weekly flights to Edinburgh from February 3, and four-times weekly services to Bristol from March 23.

Easyjet will also add routes to Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Olbia (Sardinia), Prague, Stuttgart, Menorca, Mykonos and Santorini, bringing the total number of Easyjet services from the airport to 25.

The carrier also operates up to six flights per day to and from London and Paris.

Easyjet Venice hub

Launching the new base CEO Carolyn McCall said Easyjet had become “the largest airline by far” at the airport, with a current 24 per cent market share.

The Easyjet decision is also good news for Venice Marco Polo Airport which is engaged in significant expansion, and already has four times daily flights from Turkish Airlines, as well as daily flights with Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad (using Alitalia aircraft to connect to Abu Dhabi). The airport also welcomes Chinese travellers from destinations such as Shanghai via Moscow with Aeroflot.

Marco Polo is the fifth biggest airport in Italy and currently has a mix of 35 per cent business passengers compared with 65 per cent for leisure – mainly as a result of cruise passengers visiting Venice.

The catchment area for Venice Marco Polo covers some 7.2 million inhabitants across the Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions in north east Italy.

At present, British Airways only offers a single flight from Heathrow, though this is set to change at the end of March when a second flight is added that will aid connections to north America (the airline also offers several daily flights to and from London Gatwick).

Easyjet Venice hub

GDP per capita in the region is double the Italian average, with companies based in the area including Benetton, De Longhi, Diesel, Bottega Veneta and Illy.

The majority of these companies are small, entrepreneurial businesses, and being cost-conscious, Easyjet’s expansion at the airport will be welcomed. Camillo Bozzolo, Director of Aviation Development, said that a future aim is to get more direct international services, and the airport is engaged in work which will allow it to welcome An Emirates A380 from 2018 (though this is not confirmed).

Easyjet also plans to expand its services at Milan Malpensa and Naples airports this year, but will no longer base aircraft at Rome Fiumicino from April (see news June 2015).

To celebrate the new base Easyjet has painted one of its aircraft with a special livery featuring one of Venice’s iconic gondolas.

easyjet.com

Tom Otley

Easyjet Venice hub

Easyjet unveils Flight Club loyalty scheme

Easyjet A320 new livery 2015

Easyjet has announced a frequent flyer loyalty programme called Flight Club.

The low-cost carrier, which is today celebrating its 20th birthday, has trialled the scheme with more than 15,000 passengers over the last 18 months (see news, April 12).

It is due to be rolled out across Easyjet’s European network from early next year.

Passengers will be invited to join if they have booked or flown 20 or more flights or made a minimum spend over a 12-month period. Full details will be made available nearer launch.

Flight Club will not operate “like a traditional airline reward programme”, Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall said.

Benefits include fee-free flight changes; free name changes; a price promise that if “passengers find the same flight on easyjet.com at a lower price, we’ll give them the price difference towards their next flight”; previews of new routes and special offers; and a dedicated contact centre.

Peter Duffy, Easyjet’s group commercial director – customer, marketing and product, told Business Traveller: “It’s going to be invitation only, which is unusual for a recognition programme.

“We’re going to identify all those passengers who qualify and will be rolling that out over the next 12 months on a base-by-base, country-by-country basis. It’s going to be targeted at those people who are flying over 20 times a year with us — that would be ten return flights — so it’s for our most regular customers.

“The whole programme is about giving them the flexibility they want to make the changes they need as very regular commuters.”

Flight Club will run alongside Easyjet Plus, which launched in 2008 and allows passengers free allocated seat choice, dedicated bag drop and fast boarding.

McCall said: “Flight Club will reward our most loyal, frequent flyers – most of whom will fly with us more than 20 times a year.

“It isn’t like a traditional airline reward programme because our customers have told us that those schemes can be a source of frustration. This is a loyalty scheme with a difference because it gives passengers benefits they really value and can access immediately.

“It is also simpler to run which means that we can continue to keep our costs low – which will enable us to keep our fares low.”

easyjet.com

Graham Smith

Easyjet to align with Lufthansa?

Easyjet-aircraft

Easyjet and Lufthansa have been investigating how and if they might form an alliance with one another, according to reports.

The move comes just weeks after Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary proposed an arrangement with IAG under which the Irish carrier would transfer its passengers to/from the latter’s flights.

But the Easyjet/Lufthansa development, as reported in the German media, would go one step further.

It would cover not just the transfer of passengers between flights, but would also lead to close co-operation between Easyjet and Eurowings, the new budget brand of the Lufthansa Group.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is quoted as saying: “We need consolidation in the low-cost market in Europe. Eurowings is intended to be an important part.”

So far, Easyjet is not making any comment.

But why would major airline groupings such as these wish to have budget airlines as feeders? Simply because low-cost carriers can operate feeder flights more cheaply and they can also expand the range of connections.

The latter is important as European airlines are engaged in a global route battle with the Gulf carriers, who already operate extensive networks throughout Europe.

For their part, the budget airlines are always seeking expansion opportunities.

What Easyjet and Ryanair are proposing when they talk of transferring passengers is something akin to “quasi-interlining”.

Full interlining is when conventional IATA carriers switch passengers between one another’s flights and, if the flight(s) are delayed, they will take care of the passengers and his/her luggage.

But almost all budget airlines do not believe in interlining because it pushes up their operating costs and can lead to flight delays. In addition, they sell only point-to-point tickets and have no wish to get involved in complex multi-city itineraries.

So this quasi-interlining will be when the conventional airline handles the booking while the budget carrier provides the feeder flights.

But it will also involve much re-scheduling and, chances are, it will not be offered at every airport.

For example, Ryanair has already stated it has no wish to serve London Heathrow, so if any interlining were to take place, it would be, for example, at Dublin or another IAG airport served by Ryanair.

Easyjet already serves Munich, in addition to other regional airports in Germany, but stays away from high-cost Frankfurt.

It means that passengers will not enjoy the benefit of having their luggage through-checked so they will have to reclaim their bags on arrival and hand them to the other carrier.

On the plus side, there will be more connecting opportunities and reduced risk of bags going astray (most cases of lost luggage arise during the interline process). It also means that, should one flight be missed, the airline will rebook you on a later flight without charge.

Right now, airlines will accept no responsibility for flight transfers involving conventional/budget flights.

But on the minus side, it means that connecting times will be longer. So you can forget about those tight transfers in places like Amsterdam, Helsinki, Munich and Vienna.

A much simpler transfer scheme between budget airlines was recently started at London Gatwick (see news, September 16).

easyjet.com, lufthansa.com

Easyjet adds fast-track security for Plus members

Easyjet Plus thumnail

Easyjet Plus members and Flexi fare holders will have access to fast-track security at 34 airports from March 19.

Cardholders will be able to use the service at Aberdeen, Athens, Basel, Belfast, Brussels, Budapest, Cagliari Sardinia, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Glasgow, Hamburg, Lisbon, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Southend, London Stansted, Lyon, Madeira, Manchester, Milan Malpensa, Moscow, Munich, Naples, Newcastle, Nice, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly, Porto, Prague, Tallinn and Venice.

Fast-track security will available at a 35th airport, London Luton, from October.

To qualify, cardholders must enter their Easyjet Plus membership number when booking online or on the airline’s mobile app.

Flexi ticket holders can also use fast-track through security by showing their boarding pass to the security agent or, where available, by scanning the barcode on the boarding pass at the automatic barrier.

Also from March 19, Plus members can take a second small bag, such as a handbag or laptop bag, into the cabin, to be stored under the seat in front (see news, February 18).

Peter Duffy, Easyjet’s commercial director, said: “We are always looking to make travel easier for our passengers and this added benefit of fast-track security access will save them time when travelling through the airport.

“Easyjet Plus annual card holders are among our most frequent and loyal passengers and this is another way of recognising their importance to Easyjet and providing them with value when they fly with us.”

easyjet.com

Graham Smith