easyJet sures up Gatwick future as it returns leased slots to BA

An easyJet Airbus lands at Gatwick Airport (Max Thrust Digital)
An easyJet Airbus lands at Gatwick Airport (Max Thrust Digital)

Low-cost carrier easyJet (U2/EZY) has secured its future at London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) after signing as new long-term deal which will see it remain as Gatwick’s largest operator.

The deal was announced as the LCC released its full year results which also included the news that easyJet was returning 3,000 slots it had leased from rival British Airways but this will still leave easyJet with over 90,000 slots.

The slot return will see the base drop down from 81 to 78 easyJet aircraft but Gatwick will still account for around 10% of all easyJet seats, thre-times that of it’s home base at London Luton (LTN/EGGW) which is also its headquarters.

Speaking about the news easyJet chief financial officer Kenton Jarvis said: ”We were in a seven-year deal that was due to end in April 2024, and yesterday we signed a new long-term deal with Gatwick that we are very pleased with and secures EasyJet as an anchor partner for Gatwick. So we’ve got a deal agreed now that moves us forward for the next six years.”

As a result British Airways is expected to increase its 16 aircraft at London Gatwick to 22 aircraft by Summer 2024 where it runs a successful short-haul operation.

The reduction in slots for easyJet will also allow to better handle disruption such as Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes which saw it cancel 1,700 flights from its Summer 2023 schedule by building greater “buffers” into its schedule.

easyJet chief commercial officer Sophie Dekkers explained: “We took some capacity out in the middle of the summer due to air traffic control issues and congestion over the southern Med

“We recognise from Eurocontrol stats, that that is not going to improve next year. So let’s be on the front foot and build that in from June.”

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