It isn’t long until our interview with easyJet’s CEO takes off. In the lead-up to this event on July 29th, we examine what the low-cost carrier (LCC) is doing this August, a month that would ordinarily be absolutely vital. It has some 6.5 million seats available, but that is down from 10.2 million – a drop of 36% – over August 2019.
Four countries cut… but one added
easyJet will serve some 30 countries this August, based on schedules submitted to aviation data experts OAG. This is a net reduction of three versus the same month in 2019. Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Slovenia will no longer see service, although all but Norway will return between September and November.
In contrast, Albania has been added since August 2019. It materialized in November 2019, and this August, two routes are bookable: Geneva and London Gatwick. A third, Milan Malpensa, will return in November. Albania will be easyJet’s least-served country by capacity, and it joins seven that have actually grown in comparison to August 2019.
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Seven countries have all increased
Seven nations have more seats next month than they did in August 2019, as shown below. While Egypt is up by 190% to almost 11,000 seats, by far the most significant is Greece, which has jumped to become the LCC’s seventh-most-served nation.
- Egypt: +190% over August 2019
- Gibraltar: +34%
- Serbia: +33%
- Bulgaria: +16%
- Greece: +15%
- Montenegro: +15%
- Malta: +3%
easyJet has particularly grown to Greece from the Netherlands (+335%), Switzerland (+76%), and France (+50%), although Germany (+24%) and Italy (+18%) have done well too. The latter is partly in response to Wizz Air’s Italy growth. In contrast, the UK is down by 5%.
Green list countries can be important
Some of the growth countries are because they’re on the UK’s green list, which means those arriving don’t need to quarantine even if they’ve had no vaccinations. This explains the rise in Gibraltar, Malta, Bulgaria. easyJet serves Borgas, Sofia, and Varna in Bulgaria.
However, no sooner had Bulgaria turned green, the Balkan country effectively banned those traveling from the UK because of the rising Delta variant. This suggests that easyJet may well make cuts soon, and it indicates, once again, how difficult planning can be: as one door opens, another closes. This merry-go-round is likely to remain the case for a few years.
The UK is the worst-hit of all key countries
Of easyJet’s major countries, the UK has seen by far the biggest cut (-45%) – a loss of 2.7 million seats in this one month. This is despite the UK’s vaccination progress and 12 new domestic routes.
While the UK remains easyJet’s top country, it has slipped from having three in ten seats to one-quarter. Indeed, France, easyJet’s second-largest country, is down by ‘only’ 680,000 seats (-24%), while Italy, number-three, has fallen by 664,000 (-25%). The UK continues to be very heavily affected.
Elsewhere, Germany is interesting. It has seen huge cuts (-74%), but this is largely from easyJet’s strategic reorientation there and previously cutting loss-making services, especially domestics. anna.aero showed that Germany was easyJet’s worst-performing market financially.
In contrast, Portugal has done well
While Portugal hasn’t grown in August, it hasn’t declined either. This is quite an achievement under the circumstances. While some international markets have increased nicely, particularly the Netherlands, it is mainly from domestic capacity more than doubling.
easyJet now has two domestic services: Funchal, in Maderia, to both Lisbon and Porto. They’re served up to four daily and twice daily respectively. Along with cuts elsewhere, they’ve helped push Portugal from easyJet’s seven-largest country market to sixth this August.
Will you be flying easyJet this year? Let us know in the comments.