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How do we launch a new destination?

Find out how we work as one team to turn idea into reality, with our 3-part blog series on our new network point process. 

Part 1 - Assessing the new route




ASSESSING THE NEW ROUTE

At easyJet, it’s our mission to make travel easy and affordable for our customers. Part of making travel easy is building a winning position across all markets with an extensive and developed network, and then continuing to grow our connectivity across Europe; put simply, flying our customers to places that they really want to go. 

We fly to 133 airports in 31 different countries, operating 799 routes. In 2015 we added 95 new routes, offering flights to places like Stuttgart, Pula and Preveza. 

We are continuing to expand in 2016, adding 90 new routes to serve our customers’ demand. Before we can launch a new network point, a lot of work has to be done behind the scenes. Our commercial department is at the centre of this process, making sure that the new route is feasible, sustainable, and appealing to our customers.

The idea

An idea for a new network point can be generated anywhere. 

Externally, we receive a lot of suggestions from our customers, via email or social media, about which destinations they want us to fly to. Internally, our Country teams, Network team and Procurement team are always thinking ahead to where we should be flying next. Their focus is on maintaining and building upon the strength of our pan-European network strategy, by deciding which new airports will be popular and convenient for both our leisure and business customers. 

We highly value business customers, so it’s essential that we can offer direct routes to Europe’s key business centres, flying at attractive times to primary airports with accessible transport links.

Can we fly there?

Next, we have to assess the operational feasibility of a potential new route. 

As a short-haul point-to-point carrier, with a fleet made up of only Airbus A319 and A320, destinations need to be within a certain distance of the departure airport so that we can fly directly and efficiently. Some routes are disregarded if the airport does not meet our requirements: an airport may have a runway that is not long enough for our aircraft to land. They also have to consider the potential demand of the new route. Seasonality, level of tourism and competitors already serving the route, local political situation and trade links are all investigated, along with any inhibiting laws, necessary bilateral agreements or future infrastructure and developments that may affect demand. The team create a route assessment for the identified opportunity, which collates all relevant data from other departments such as airport costs, block times, turnaround times, availability of slots and any necessary crew training. They present their assessment to the Country teams to gain support for the launch. 

Last year, over 1000 new routes were assessed - 102 of these were successfully launched. 

Below: successful launch of new route from London Southend to Paris Charles de Gaulle in February.

Do we want to fly there?

Once we know that a new destination is operable, we need to look at its potential to be served by multiple routes across our Network. 

We want to launch destinations that can help grow our network, rather than destinations that are limited to only a few routes. We feed all research and information that we have gathered into a multivariable model which breaks down the revenue and cost. We want to know how much money the route is going to make as we have to balance short term and long term profitability.


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