Posts Tagged ‘east midlands airport’

easyjet 300x180 easyJet closes East Midland operations, budget travel squeezed furthereasyJet may have enjoyed a healthy November with passenger bookings up over 12 per cent, but the news isn’t all rosy. The budget airline has announced cuts that will shut down all operations at East Midlands Airport and reduce flights at London Luton Airport by a fifth. Thought you were a smart alec booking up your summer holidays before Christmas? Sorry about that.

Flights from East Midlands Airport will end on 5th January – passengers booked to travel after that date will be emailed in the next week and offered either a free transfer to another easyJet flight, a free transfer to a bmibaby flight, or a full refund. The 20 per cent reduction at Luton will mean an end to flights to Athens, Cagliari and Vienna, as well as reduced frequencies on several other routes.

A spokesperson said easyJet plans to move the capacity to more profitable airports, but soon even that option may be lost to the budget airlines – an independent climate committee set up by the Government is due to announce that budget air travel is unsustainable if the UK is to meet targets in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The plans allow for a third runway at Heathrow and second runways at Stansted and Edinburgh, but put a halt to regional airports expanding any further, including Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Bristol. Bah. The plans also call for huge carbon taxes to be heaped on passengers. Meh.

Interestingly, when asked for a statement, easyJet pointed out that by favouring the expansion of larger airports at the cost of regional bases, it meant a potential increase in the number of flight transfers, as passengers would have to travel to a larger hub before taking a second flight to their intended destination – hardly a foolproof method of reducing carbon emissions. There is another voice of reason, too – Sustainable Aviation, a group which is involved in representing the interests of both short and long-haul carriers – stated that “limiting emissions through technological improvements was the answer, not cutting people’s right to travel”. The reports seems to have considered such matters, yet still reccommends denying us our long weekends in Murcia. Damn their eyes.

When it comes to the recession, budget airlines have put their fingers in their ears and are shouting LA LA LA LA LA very loudly. At least that’s what the headlines would have you believe. After last week heralding additional routes for Newcastle, Jet2.com has this lunchtime announced a new base of operations at East Midlands Airport.

The seven new routes on offer from the budget airline are Lanzarote, Dalaman, Corfu, Heraklion, Paphos, Tenerife and Sharm El Sheikh. All routes are now available for departures from May 2010, with starting fares from £59.99 one way including taxes. Last week new routes for Newcastle were announced, departing to Dalaman, Crete, Gran Canaria, Paphos and Sharm el Sheikh.

Between the two announcements Jet2.com are claiming up to 700 new jobs will be created. Now we can’t knock that – more passenger choice and new jobs are very commendable – but will this be all there is to this story? Let’s look at Ryanair – on August 11th, Ryanair announced a massive expansion in operations at Leeds-Bradford Airport, increasing the number of destinations served to 17 and creating 1,000 new jobs. Less than a week later, Ryanair announced it was closing down all services out of Manchester with the exception of a single route. 600 jobs will be lost.

ryanair vs jet2 Jet2.com vs Ryanair   when two budget airlines go to war

Jet2.com launches counter-attack on Ryanair (artist's impression)

Jet2.com’s main base of operations is Leeds-Bradford Airport, where they now have Ryanair potentially outgunning them in terms of prices and PR. Jet2.com clearly aren’t happy about the situation, not least because they seemingly weren’t told Ryanair were moving in on their patch. While it’s unlikely Jet2.com will quit Yorkshire, it seems from today’s announcement that Jet2.com is gearing up for a turf war; Ryanair already operates nearly 40 routes from East Midlands airport. It’s good news for the consumer in the short term (unless you live in Manchester) but will both airlines survive?