easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren has suggested that his airline could be considering flights out of London Heathrow Airport. While nothing is confirmed yet, Lundgren refused to rule out the UK hub, citing the importance of flying out of the UK’s biggest airports. easyJet currently only operates out of London’s Gatwick and Luton airports.
In an interview with The Mail On Sunday, seen here, CEO Johan Lundgren spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on the airline and its plans for the summer. In particular, he talked about the UK’s “traffic light” system and the need for more clarity on where travelers can fly. With an eye on making a recovery this summer, Lundgren hopes to see popular destinations like France, Greece, and Turkey included on the “green list.”
Talking about the shifting market and the changing position of traditional airlines, Lundgren said that easyJet could be considering Heathrow for the first time ever, saying,
“Our philosophy is to fly from Europe’s leading airports, so that [Heathrow] would possibly make sense. That’s not something we are ruling out, but the timing and conditions have to be right for us to do so.”
The remarks may cause some confusion among industry veterans and those well-versed with the business model of low-cost airlines. Budget carriers in Europe generally fly to airports further out from the city or those with cheaper landing fees to keep costs down. However, Heathrow is one of the most expensive airports in the world, making it a peculiar choice for easyJet.
It’s important to note that easyJet has not secured any slots at Heathrow for this season and has not signaled attempts to apply. However, with slots now more easily available than ever in recent memory, easyJet may be able to secure some in the next year.
Change in bases
The suggestion that Heathrow could be on the cards comes after easyJet rejigged its presence in the British capital. The carrier axed operations from London Southend and closed its base at Stansted last year amid low traffic, reducing its bases by half.
With operations now consolidated between Gatwick and Luton, easyJet could be trying to figure its future growth out of London. However, Heathrow remains a costly choice for the airline, one which could require it to fly only the most popular routes or increase ticket prices. At a time when a price war is brewing among the big budget airlines, increasing costs seems like an unlikely choice.
While Heathrow does have its drawbacks, the airport does have numerous upsides too. The connectivity to the city, opportunities for connecting destinations, and ease of access make it a popular airport for most.
What do you think about easyJet potentially starting flights from Heathrow? Let us know in the comments!