EasyJet beats Ryanair to market with long-haul connections programme
(ShareCast News) - EasyJet announced on Wednesday that it had inked a deal with fellow European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air and Canada's WestJet that would allow its passengers to transfer onto their long-haul flights via Gatwick.
As the second-biggest discount carrier in Europe, EasyJet was looking to finalise its long-haul link service before its rival, the biggest discount airline in Europe, Ryanair could finalise its deals to do the same with Norwegian Air, Air Europa and Aer Lingus.
The "Worldwide by EasyJet" would be available for all passengers with a break of two and a half hours between flights, with passengers required to collect their own luggage from the baggage carousel in Gatwick Airport at a cost of £15 before handing them in for loading at their connecting flight.
RBC Capital analyst Damian Brewer said the programme, which was live as of the announcement being made on Wednesday, was "constructive" but the airline "will need to ensure its Gatwick punctuality becomes more resilient."
In the event of delays, Gatwick would organise for passengers to board the next available onward flight.
Easyjet was said to be exploring similar deals with Middle Eastern and East Asian carriers as it looked to extend the service to its other major bases such as Milan, Geneva, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris CDG.
Competitor Ryanair had originally planned to launch its long-haul transfer scheme earlier in the summer, but technical challenges relating to the linking of its software with that of its partner's put an indefinite hold on the project's rollout.
As of 1550 BST, EasyJet shares had moved ahead 1.32% to 1,209.73p