easyJet has revealed another route to the Middle East. Starting on December 6th will be a twice-weekly service from Manchester to Aqaba, a coastal resort in Jordan, close to Petra and the Wadi Rum desert. At 2,488 miles, it will be easyJet’s fifth-longest route in that festive month.
Next route announced
easyJet’s new Manchester to Aqaba service will operate winter seasonally with the following schedule. Of course, long routes take up a lot of an aircraft’s time, especially regarding the number of sectors that can be operated per aircraft per day. An airline will expect to recoup this in higher average fares.
- U21965: Manchester at 09:00 on Mondays, arriving 16:35
- U21965: Manchester at 11:55 on Fridays, arriving 19:30
- U21966: Aqaba at 17:25 on Mondays, arriving at 21:30
- U21966: Aqaba at 20:20 on Fridays, arriving at 00:25 (the next morning)
To generate interest and demand on this route, which no other airline has operated regularly before, easyJet’s lead-in fare from Jordan – a block time of over six hours – can be had for less than €15. Going the other way, fares are, of course, significantly higher, starting at £95.99.
easyJet has served Aqaba since 2018
The low-cost carrier got going to the Jordanian tourist resort in November 2018, helped by the EU-Jordan open skies agreement in 2010, with services from both London Gatwick and Berlin Schönefeld. The following year saw Geneva, Milan Malpensa, and Venice come online. And in December 2021, five routes will be operated:
- Berlin: twice-weekly
- Geneva: twice-weekly
- London Gatwick: twice-weekly
- Manchester: twice-weekly
- Milan Malpensa: twice-weekly
easyJet to the Middle East
Because of sector lengths, often bilateral requirements, longer turnarounds, lower aircraft productivity, and generally greater bureaucracy and complexity, easyJet has only a relatively small presence in the Middle East. And this isn’t really going to change.
Nonetheless, its Middle East seats surpassed 1.4 million in 2019, OAG data indicates, although this was just 1.3% of its total capacity. Middle East capacity grew strongly versus previous years for one reason: Tel Aviv.
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easyJet began its first route to Tel Aviv from Luton in 2009, which remains its top route to the region. And when the Israel-EU open skies came into effect in 2013, it started to grow (see the theme?). In 2019, Tel Aviv had 89% of the LCC’s Middle East seats, with a network of 18 routes, including Basel, Bordeaux, Nantes, and Stansted.
Remember easyJet to Istanbul and Amman?
It might seem a long time ago, but easyJet used to serve both Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Istanbul, by far Turkey’s largest city. The LCC served Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen between 2006 and 2014 from both Luton and Basel, the latter using easyJet Switerzland for bilateral reasons.
Basel to Sabiha Gökçen was one of the extremely few easyJet routes to fly overnight, leaving Switzerland at around 22:30 and arriving back at about 05:30 the next morning. easyJet ended it in 2014, and Pegasus, the sole other airline, consequently grew capacity.
Amman, meanwhile, was served from Gatwick between March 2011 and May 2014, the result of the open skies agreement that began in 2010. The 2,272-mile route, which typically operated three-weekly, used A320s.
What is the longest easyJet route you’ve flown? Let us know in the comments.