European LCC easyJet Celebrates Its 25th Birthday

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European low-cost carrier easyJet today marks 25 years since it operated its first flights. The airline that started with two Boeing 737s today has 322 A320 family aircraft and a network that spans across Europe.

easyJet, 25 years, birthday
easyJet’s first flight took to the skies 25 years ago today. Photo: Getty Images

Just a month ago, we were celebrating the 25th birthday of Latvian carrier airBaltic. However, now it is the turn of easyJet, known for flying the color orange around Europe. Yet, did you know that the orange airline headed by Stelios Haji-Ioannou started by just operating domestic flights? Let’s take a brief look at 25 years of easyJet history.

First flights

25 years ago today, easyJet operated its first flight. This saw the airline fly from London Luton to Glasgow. This was followed by the launch of a route to Edinburgh on November 24th. Fares for the routes started at just £29.

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Initially, a Boeing carrier

Like rival Ryanair and inspiration Southwest Airlines, easyJet was initially a Boeing 737 airline. The carrier was launched with two Boeing 737-200 aircraft, G-BECH and G-BECG. They arrived at the airline on November 9th and November 10th of 1995.

easyJet, 25 years, birthday
easyJet was initially launched as a Boeing 737 airline. Photo: Getty Images

However, the Boeing 737 wasn’t just used for the first couple of routes. The airline took delivery of its first wholly-owned 737 in April 1996. This aircraft, G-EZYA, was a Boeing 737-300 that has bounced around airlines such as Monarch, Canadian Airlines, and Euroberlin before arriving at easyJet at ten years old.

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easyJet would go on to operate 86 Boeing 737s, with the last one leaving the fleet on November 1st, according to Planespotters.net. The airline would also use a handful of Boeing 757s.

Transition to an Airbus airline

It wasn’t until 2003 that easyJet began its transition to becoming an all A320 family operator, with its first A319 delivered in November of that year. This came a year after a deal to purchase 240 aircraft from the A320 family was announced.

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Berlin Brandenburg Airport, easyJet, first Departure
The airline has since become an all-Airbus A320 carrier. Photo: Günter Wicker / Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH

Two years later, in December 2005, the airline’s fleet reached a size of 100 aircraft. This came a month after the airline turned ten years old. The airline’s current fleet consists of 322 aircraft, with the oldest being a 15-year-old A319 delivered in 2005.

The airline is currently receiving new A320neo aircraft, with 159 aircraft from the neo family on order. This brings easyJet’s total orders for A320 family aircraft to 480. However, this order hasn’t been without its issues. Earlier this year, the airline’s founder unsuccessfully attempted to cancel the order and oust the CEO.

Looking to the future

Given all that is going on globally, the airline is understandably not celebrating its 25th birthday as it had hoped. After all, the airline has cut three bases in the United Kingdom this year alone. Across the industry, airlines are all suffering from reduced passenger numbers.

However, just over a week ago, easyJet centralized its operations in Berlin to Brandenburg Airport’s Terminal 1. This is a base that the airline is keen to focus on moving forwards.

What’s your favorite memory of flying with easyJet? Let us know in the comments!

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