|This week saw the launch of two new routes from CDG to Barcelona and Bastia, while in mid-July easyJet will begin three further new routes from its Paris bases – Ajaccio, Faro and Dubrovnik.|
easyJet’s relationship with the French market has been rather more difficult than it would have liked. Since first starting flights to France in May 2002 with routes between Geneva and Paris Orly, and Liverpool and Paris CDG, easyJet has gradually built up its portfolio of routes but has regularly voiced frustration with the slot allocation system at Paris’ two main airports. Paris Orly is just 16 kilometres from downtown Paris and much more convenient for point-to-point traffic than CDG which is 23 kilometres away.
Number of routes trebles in five years
At the beginning of 2004 easyJet operated just 10 routes from the two main Paris airports; six from Orly (Barcelona, Geneva, Marseille, Milan Linate, Nice and Toulouse), and four from CDG (Liverpool, London Luton, Newcastle and Nice). However, these 10 routes operated with an average frequency of three daily flights.
|Source: anna.aero database|
The number of routes has now trebled (to 31) but the number of flights has less than doubled resulting in a reduction in the average route frequency to around 12 weekly flights. Most of the growth has come at CDG where easyJet now bases aircraft.
This week saw the launch of two new routes from CDG to Barcelona (double-daily) and Bastia (daily). This winter has already seen the start of new routes to Casablanca and Tangier (both from CDG) and to Budapest (from Orly). Some of these slots have become available as a result of the airline axing its Hamburg service (from CDG) which only began last March, plus the decision to end the daily Madrid service (from Orly) and increase frequency on the CDG to Madrid service instead.
|easyJet’s network from CDG (left) and from Orly (right) share only two destinations in common. Barcelona and Nice are the only destination served from both airports. Milan is served from both airports but using different airports in Milan.|
Dortmund, Marseille and Turin failed to meet expectations
Only a few routes have failed to deliver for easyJet in Paris. A triple-daily Marseille service (from Orly) was one of the first started but was dropped after less than two years. A double-daily (then just daily) service to Dortmund was closed in November 2006 after less than three years, while a daily Turin service (from Orly) lasted almost exactly one year.
Conversely frequency has been ramped up on the route to Milan Malpensa where there are now 37 weekly departures (six daily departures plus less at weekends) from CDG. easyJet’s domestic routes from Orly to Nice and Toulouse have the next highest frequency.
|Weekly departures||From Paris CDG||From Paris ORY|
|19||Berlin SXF, Geneva|
|7||Bastia, Belfast, Bristol, Casablanca, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Marrakech, Newcastle, Porto||Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Milan Linate, Naples|
|Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 16 February 2009|
Only three routes from CDG are currently served less than daily though this is just to compensate for off-peak demand. Both Glasgow and Krakow operated daily last summer.
|France’s second biggest airline.|
|easyJet’s domestic routes from Orly to Nice and Toulouse have the highest frequency after Milan Malpensa services (where there are now 37 weekly departures)|
Three more new routes for summer
In mid-July easyJet will begin three further new routes from its Paris bases. Ajaccio (on the island of Corsica) will, hopefully, be added to the network from CDG after originally being planned for summer 2006. However, then it ran into PSO (Public Service Obligation) issues with the French government and the route was abandoned before being started. Ibiza, first operated last summer, returns as a seasonal destination. From Orly there will be two new (seasonal) routes to Dubrovnik (thrice-weekly) and Faro (also thrice-weekly) both also starting in mid-July.
According to DGAC data easyJet is the second biggest airline in the French market and carried over 7.6 million passengers on French routes in 2007, up 16.7% on the previous year, at an estimated load factor of close to 80%. With its solid expansion in Paris and new base in Lyon easyJet will have consolidated its place in the French market even further during 2008.