EasyJet will land at Gatwick for seven years

The deal will help the UK's second-busiest airport thumb its nose at Heathrow.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 24 Jul 2014

EasyJet has cemented its relationship with Gatwick, signing a seven year deal that it says will give it the space to grow at its biggest base. It’s always nice to see pretenders to thrones working together: Europe’s second biggest discount airline cosying up with the UK’s second busiest airport.

The orange airline said it would increase capacity and passenger numbers at the airport by 10% in the next year, by raising the number of slots it uses and using bigger planes. The company is also talking to Gatwick about moving all its operations to the North Terminal, a la British Airways at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The airport currently accounts for between 14 and 15 million passengers, around a quarter of EasyJet’s network.

‘This agreement gives EasyJet certainty on passenger charges over the next seven years and a clear incentive to continue to grow,’ EasyJet chief exec Carolyn McCall said. ‘Our shared ambition is for Gatwick to be both our biggest and best airport.’

It’s been a good week for EasyJet, who announced earlier this week that first half losses would be £55m-£65m, rather than the £70m-£90m it predicted two months ago.

Gatwick will also get a tango-tinged boost from the deal, as it continues trying to convince the government-backed Airports Commission to let it build a second runway. Chief exec Stewart Wingate said earlier this week the airport could construct one ‘faster’ and ‘cheaper’ than Heathrow would be able to manage a controversial third runway.

Wingate also argued low cost carriers such as EasyJet couldn’t afford to operate from Heathrow, despite being the fastest growing part of the airlines market. If Gatwick keeps rolling out the red landing strip for the orange carrier and its discount rivals, they won’t need to head down the M4 anyway.

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