easyJet picks Portugal for 20th base; in 2011 Lisbon will become first new base since Lyon and Paris CDG in 2008

At a ceremony at Lisbon airport, the Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates, easyJet’s CEO Carolyn McCall and Lisbon Mayor António Costa christened a brand new easyJet A319 “Pride of Lisbon” as a symbol of easyJet’s commitment to the market and 2011 base launch. This event obviously could not go unnoticed to Lisbon’s master bakers, who produced this commemorative cake.

easyJet’s new CEO Carolyn McCall this week revealed that Lisbon would become the airline’s next base, but not until winter 2011, by which time it will have been three and a half years since easyJet opened its last bases, at Lyon and Paris CDG in spring 2008. Last year, easyJet handled 1,265,900 passengers at Lisbon, an increase of 14.2% on 2008, and representing 9.5% of the airport’s total traffic. In the first nine months of 2010, the airline has seen passenger numbers at Lisbon grow by 10.4% to just over one million. These passengers account for 9.9% of the airport’s total so far this year.

easyJet has indicated that it could base up to seven aircraft at the airport and hopes to start at least 10 new routes. The airline first started serving Lisbon in October 2005 from its Geneva base, and has since grown its network to 15 routes which are summarised below.

Start date Destination WF Competition (WF)
30 October 2005 Geneva (GVA) 20 TAP Portugal (21)
1 March 2006 London Luton (LTN) 14
1 March 2006 Paris CDG (CDG) 14 Air France (35)
10 March 2006 Basel (BSL) 4
21 April 2006 Milan Malpensa (MXP) 7 Lufthansa Italia (8), TAP Portugal (14)
11 May 2007 Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) 2
1 October 2007 London Gatwick (LGW) 7 TAP Portugal (5)
31 October 2007 Bristol (BRS) 3
1 November 2007 Madrid (MAD) 14 Air Europa (20), Iberia (27), TAP Portugal (41), Vueling (7)
2 November 2007 Liverpool (LPL) 4
4 April 2008 Lyon (LYS) 4 TAP Portugal (21)
27 October 2008 Funchal/Madeira (FNC) 21 SATA (14), TAP Portugal (61)
2 November 2009 Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 7 TAP Portugal (21)
4 May 2010 Edinburgh (EDI) 3
10 September 2010 Toulouse (TLS) 4* TAP Portugal (14)
Source: anna.aero new route database, OAG Max Online for w/c 2 August 2010
WF: Weekly Frequency in August 2010
* Weekly frequency when route started in September 2010

José Sócrates appreciates easyJet’s loyalty. The airline has so far never dropped a route to Lisbon and the new base could involve up to seven based aircraft.

In the airline’s press release, it is claimed that easyJet has been operating to Portugal since 1999. This is not strictly true as easyJet’s first flights to Faro were not until 2003. However, Go (which it acquired in 2002) started Faro flights from London Stansted in March 1999, which easyJet now appear to be claiming as their own. For completeness, it should be noted that Go actually operated flights from London Stansted to Lisbon from 20 July 1998 until 21 May 2001.


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