easyJet has confirmed plans to launch a hub at London Southend Airport from Apr-2012, ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games (Business Weekly, 16-Jun-2011). The London Luton-based LCC will base three A319 aircraft at Southend and more employee 150 people. easyJet and London Southend expect 800,000 passengers are expected to fly from Southend in the first year. The airline plans to operate 70 weekly services from the airport, to some 10 European destinations including Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza. An easyJet spokesman said it had not yet been determined whether Stansted would lose any routes to Southend. London Southend, which has overhauled its strategy in recent years to target the scheduled short-haul market, will be easyJet’s 11th UK base and 20th European base. easyJet has signed a 10-year partnership agreement with airport owners Stobart Group. [more]
easyJet confirms London Southend move
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CityJet ends its plan to buy Stobart Air & enter Southend, but retains its growth aims.
In early Dec-2016 the Irish regional airline CityJet ended talks with Stobart Group about the possible acquisition of the airline Stobart Air. This deal could have accelerated CityJet's growth in the area of regional airline contract flying, where Stobart Air is positioned with contracts for Aer Lingus and Flybe. Nevertheless, while this is a setback to CityJet's ambitions, the airline continues to pursue an aggressive growth strategy.
CityJet had also preliminarily agreed to launch new routes at Stobart Group's London Southend Airport, but will not now do so. Instead, Stobart Group has taken control of Stobart Air by acquiring shares from minority investors, and will use its in-house airline to grow the Southend network. This should help the airport in reaching its own growth targets, as set by the Stobart Group.
CityJet may seek an alternative acquisition in order to fulfil its goal of becoming the largest regional wet lease provider in Europe. It will almost certainly convert all or some of the 16 options it holds over Sukhoi Superjets, in addition to its firm order for 15 (three have already been delivered). CityJet has undergone significant change since leaving the Air France-KLM group in 2014, and its losses are narrowing.
Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.