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easyJet opens 20th base at Lyon Airport

8th April 2008 Print
Andy Harrison, easyJet’s Chief Executive, officially opened the airline’s 20th base at Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport this month (April 4), with an inauguration ceremony held at the airport in the presence of Mr Gérard Collomb, Mayor of Lyon.

The new base in France’s second largest city is part of a €600m investment over a four-year-period that will strengthen easyJet’s position as the largest low-fares airline in France. The investment will enable easyJet to increase its fleet in France from 6 based aircraft to 20 and to double the number of passengers from 6 million in 2007 to 12 million in 2011.

Initially two brand-new Airbus A319 aircraft will be based at Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport, an investment of €80 million which will create around 80 jobs for pilots and cabin crews. In addition to 5 existing routes at Lyon Saint-Exupéry, easyJet launches five new European and North-African routes, to Venice, Marrakech, Casablanca, Lisbon and Porto, and three French domestic services to Bordeaux, Toulouse and Biarritz.

By launching its third base in France in Lyon, the country’s second most important economic centre, easyJet becomes the first low-fares airline to offer French domestic flights outside of Paris. In February 2008, easyJet already opened another French base, a Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport; the decision to open two bases in France within a two-month-period underlines France’s importance as one of the key growth markets for easyJet.

easyJet already operates 50 routes from 14 airports across the country (Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Lyon, Grenoble, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Biarritz, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Montpellier, Nantes, Bastia and Ajaccio). In the first half of this year, a further 23 routes will be launched.

At a press conference in Lyon today, Andy Harrison, easyJet’s Chief Executive, commented:

“easyJet’s unique combination of low fares, care and convenience has proven to be very popular in France over the last 12 years, and there is a strong desire among consumers for more choice. With a lost-cost penetration that is half the European average, France's air transport market still suffers from a lack of affordable, direct air links and therefore offers huge opportunities for easyJet.

“Today’s event is a vital first step in our major investment that will see us double our presence in France by 2011 as we seek to bring the benefits of easyJet to France’s air travellers and its wider society. We will be employing French people and flying French passengers from France’s major airports on aircraft from Toulouse-based Airbus. No wonder we consider ourselves as the best French alternative to Air France.”

easyJet is currently France’s second largest airline with a 6% market share.