easyjet signs “landmark” deal to develop its Gatwick operation

Britain’s busiest short-haul airline, easyjet, has signed a “landmark” seven year deal with Gatwick Airport, effectively sidelining Heathrow from its medium term plans.

A statement from the airline said that the new deal with “incentivise” it to grow at Gatwick and work to improve the customer experience.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO, said: “Gatwick is our largest base so it is of strategic importance to secure this new agreement with Gatwick Airport.  easyJet shares the CAA’s view that Gatwick has market power but also supports the move towards a more commercial arrangement with the airport within a regulatory framework.

“This agreement gives easyJet certainty on passenger charges over the next seven years and a clear incentive to continue to grow. More importantly, it will create a framework for easyJet and Gatwick to plan and deliver an improved experience for our passengers.

“Our shared ambition is for Gatwick to be both our biggest and best airport.”

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said “This partnership with easyJet is a landmark deal in London Gatwick’s history. Four years after the end of the BAA monopoly at the airport, this partnership highlights how far we have come to be able to operate within a new framework of commitments and contracts. For passengers travelling with easyJet, they will have more choice, competitive fares and an even better experience. It is positive news for both business and leisure passengers travelling with easyJet from Gatwick.”

easyJet plans to continue to grow at Gatwick through increasing slots and deploying larger aircraft as easyJet replaces 156 seat A319s with 180 seat A320s and, from 2017, A320Neos. In the next year (end March 2015) alone the airline will increase capacity and passenger numbers by around 10% compared to the previous year.

The agreement has been reached within the new ‘commitments’ framework which will replace the current regulatory regime as confirmed by the CAA last year‎.

easyJet started flying from London Gatwick Airport in 1999 and now has 57 aircraft based there, operating on 108 routes. The airline has around 1400 cabin crew and 700 pilots operating from the airport.