easyJet services from London Southend in April 2012

easyJet plans to begin operating from London Southend Airport from April 2012, creating a new base with three Airbus A319s.

The carrier expects the move to mean jobs for more than 150 new employees and believes it will carry around 800,000 passengers in the first year.

There will be 70 easyJet flights per week and passengers will have a choice of around 110 different European destinations. Announced so far are Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza with further route details expected at the end of July.

London Southend Airport, with a brand new, multi million pound terminal opening in autumn 2011, will be easyJet’s eleventh UK base and is located within a minute’s walk from a new train station with superb links into London. easyJet has signed a 10-year partnership agreement with Stobart Group, owners of the airport.

Catherine Lynn, easyJet’s Customer and Revenue Director, said: “We are excited to be opening London Southend as easyJet’s 20th base airport. The airport is in a fantastic location just outside London with a fast rail link into the city and passengers able to get from the plane to the train in 15 minutes.

“The opening at Southend is part of our strategy, alongside Stansted, for north and east London. We hope to give London City Airport a run for its money with regard to attracting business passengers,” Lynn added.

“We’ll start in the first week of April with two aircraft and aim to have the third arrive in May. But we will be ready for Easter.

London Southend Airport managing director, Alastair Welch, commented, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with easyJet, servicing a comprehensive variety of routes into Europe and hot on the heels of other significant developments at London Southend. This summer we open a dedicated railway station with up to eight services an hour to Stratford – site of the 2012 Olympic Games – and to London Liverpool Street, both in well under an hour. The station will be less than 100 paces from the terminal building.

“A new state-of-the-art control tower is now operational, work on our runway extension is underway, as is a new terminal building to be completed this autumn, and a new hotel that will open in 2012.”

Welch backed Lynn’s comment regarding business passengers, noting that the companies in the Thames Gateway business parks were only a short distance away. “Also, there is a high propensity for people in this area to fly,” he added, noting that Southend has already this year added Aer Arann Regional to Flybe as carriers offering service from the airport. “And we have other carriers lined up.”

With the runway extension scheduled for completion before easyJet begins service, the airline will have no problem reaching Faro in Portugal with a full load on its A319s, which would not be the case were the airline operating such services now.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net

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