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EasyJet's new connections service breakthrough leap-frogs Ryanair. Punctuality will need to improve

EasyJet's announcement of a new connections service, 'Worldwide by easyJet', is a major new step towards blurring the lines between full service network airlines and LCCs. The new service involves a booking platform to facilitate the transfer from easyJet onto other airlines' long haul flights and easyJet-easyJet transfers. Launch partners are Norwegian and WestJet at London Gatwick. The LCC plans to add more airlines, with Emirates and Cathay Pacific possible contenders, and to roll out the service to other airports. It is also to sell tickets on its website for partner airlines, starting with UK regional carrier Loganair.

'Worldwide by easyJet' uses Gatwick Airport's 'GatwickConnects' product, launched in 2015 on a platform built by Icelandic travel technology company Dohop. The main innovation is the IT that links the schedules and pricing of different airlines, presenting customers with a single interface. EasyJet's new service is an incremental change in that it uses an existing service, but it is harnessing it to its large European network and its highly visible website.

EasyJet will need to improve its punctuality record at Gatwick, but there is no fundamental change to easyJet's operating model in terms of its point to point schedule and network philosophy. However, easyJet does appear to have stolen a march on Ryanair and leap-frogged it in offering connections.

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