Norwegian, WestJet and easyJet have announced a new partnership which will give travellers access to global destinations and easier short-haul connections on a single booking. The new ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ platform launches today and includes destinations in Norwegian’s network of long-haul flights to the U.S., Asia, and South America.
Seats are available for sale immediately on easyJet.com, with service starting on routes at London Gatwick Airport, using the airport’s ‘Gatwick Connects’ product.
easyJet expects the service to expand to other key airports in Europe in future, including airports where Norwegian also offers long-haul connections such as Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona. Norwegian’s long-haul network presently offers more than 55 routes from Europe to the U.S, Asia and South America. From London Gatwick, Norwegian flies to 13 destinations, including 11 major US cities, plus Singapore and Buenos Aires. easyJet flies on more of Europe’s 100 largest routes than any other airline.
easyJet will sign other airlines up to Worldwide by easyJet with talks already far advanced with middle-eastern and far eastern carriers amongst others. As well as adding partners at Gatwick Airport easyJet plans to expands to other key easyJet airports in Europe such as Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona.
easyJet is also starting to sell stand-alone tickets on behalf of partner airlines alongside the connectivity product on easyJet.com. Loganair is signed up as a further launch partner and their tickets will be available on easyJet.com from next month. Loganair operates a complementary network to easyJet and will allow easyJet passengers to easily book onward flights – e.g. from Glasgow and Edinburgh with Loganair to Scotland’s Highlands and Islands, including the Glasgow – Barra link, the world’s only scheduled service to a beach airport. The appeal to the partner airlines is access to one of the biggest travel websites in Europe with around 360m visits in the past twelve months.
Worldwide by easyJet will also allow easyJet passengers to connect with other easyJet flights through Gatwick Airport. Currently around 200,000 “self-connect” on easyJet – booking separate easyJet flights and the GatwickConnects product themselves in three different transactions.
Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s CEO explained the strategy behind Worldwide by easyJet:
“Around 70m passengers flying through an easyJet airport each year are connecting on to other flights, mainly long haul, and it is this market segment that Worldwide by easyJet will open up for us.
“Because of easyJet’s strong positions at Europe’s leading airports and our customer focus long haul carriers have been asking to work with easyJet for some time and the new technology platform has now allowed us to do so.
“Our own customers and those who fly with other airlines, short and long haul, have also asked us to make it easier to connect with easyJet flights and this simple booking platform makes it easy for them to do so.
“By opening this new market segment this now means that easyJet can access a greater range of passengers flying across Europe.”
Norwegian Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Ramdahl said:
“Travel should be affordable for all so we are delighted to partner with another quality low-cost airline like easyJet to offer passengers even more choice.
“We already see a large number of passengers making connections between Norwegian’s own long-haul and short-haul networks and we welcome initiatives like ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ that give customers even more opportunities for affordable transfers between flights.
“With Norwegian’s growing long-haul networks and easyJet’s extensive European routes, millions more passengers will have the chance to travel to some of the world’s top destinations, all with great fares, smooth connections and a quality service.”
Peter Duffy, Chief Commercial Office for easyJet, commented:
“The way we have designed Worldwide by easyJet means that we can profitably access a major new pool of customers without undermining easyJet’s operating model and industry leading punctuality.
“We know there is a real customer demand for making flight connections on easyJet easier. Almost 200k easyJet passengers a year already self-connect their easyJet flights through Gatwick Airport. That’s c.1% of our passengers at the airport and that doesn’t include those connecting between easyJet and long haul flights.“We are delighted with the partners who have signed up for our launch today. We are confident it will be popular with customers and look forward to announcing more partners in the near future. “Whilst Worldwide by easyJet is launching with our largest base London Gatwick we will broaden our focus to include our other biggest airports – such as Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona. Between them they have tens of millions of connecting passengers each year whose journeys start or end in Europe.
“Worldwide by easyJet will also allow airlines with complementary networks to easyJet to sell their seats to our customer base – accessing the 360m visitors to easyJet.com every year.”
Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial:
“easyJet’s new booking platform, Worldwide, is a great fit with our London Gatwick service and we’re excited to provide Canadian travellers with connections to easyJet’s extensive European network. Many of our guests already self-connect between WestJet and easyJet flights, and this new booking tool will make it easier than ever before to travel throughout Europe from Canada and back.”
Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:
“GatwickConnects lets passengers seamlessly self-connect between different airlines at Gatwick at the touch of the button. easyJet is our biggest airline and by partnering with GatwickConnects, easyJet passengers can easily and quickly self-connect with other flights in Gatwick’s diverse network of flights including our 60 long haul routes.”
Worldwide by easyJet is subject to a 2 hour 30 minute ‘Minimum Connection Time’, which will give customers plenty of time to transfer between flights and/or terminals. Should a passenger miss a connecting flight they will be transferred to the next available flight. Technology partner Dohop will be providing the technology platform for Worldwide by easyJet.
Norwegian and Ryanair have been discussing the creation of a feeder network of this kind for two years. The main hurdle, their CEOs have told me during repeated interviews, has been reservations systems integration.