16 NOVEMBER 2015
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
Last Tuesday (10 November) easyJet celebrated 20 years at its spiritual home, and headquarters, Luton Airport. In fact Luton is no longer its largest base (of 27), that accolade now going to Gatwick. Guest of Honour was Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the airline and still, with his family, the largest shareholder. A beaming Sir Stelios made a short but impressive speech. Clearly differences with the present board are a thing of the past.
BTN can only praise easyJet. From day one the airline has emphasised a quality low-cost product with a distinctive friendly service which others have been forced to copy. If you are a business traveller you can travel quietly at the front of the aircraft, first on and first off (and if we dare say first use of the loos), and also first with cabin service if required. There are no legacy carriers’ style lounges, but there is a good paying selection if you are at an airport early. Yes, it is not part of the ticket price, but with easyJet prices, the business traveller can afford a lounge membership.
On 10 November 1995 easyJet’s first ever flight took off from Luton to Glasgow. Twenty years on, the airline flies over 68m passengers to 137 airports in 31 countries and operates 788 routes across Europe.
Speaking in front of 600 staff and guests in a hangar at Luton Airport Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating easyJet’s success over the past two decades. Twenty years ago easyJet changed the way Europe travelled. We challenged the high price monopolies of the legacy airlines and enabled a new generation of people of all ages, incomes and interests to enjoy Europe. Since then we’ve carried over 600m passengers and flown over 4.7m flights but that challenger spirit is stronger than ever in the easyJet of 2015.
“We started with fares to Glasgow from £29 – or as we advertised at the time, the same price as a pair of jeans. A pair of Levis 501s will now set your back £75 while our fares to Glasgow start from £27.49.
“All of this would not have been possible without those who have been part of the easyJet team during that time. They have worked incredibly hard to make travel easier and more affordable for our passengers.
“I also have to thank our fantastic customers for their loyalty and support and, of course, our suppliers and partners for their professionalism and commitment.
“Although today we’re celebrating 20 years of generation easyJet, we’re even more excited about the future. We will continue to challenge conventional thinking and we look forward to where the next two decades could take us.”
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyJet’s founder and owner of the easyJet brand, added: “Today is the best possible opportunity to thank all the 30,000 people who make easyJet work on a daily basis. I want to thank those employees and sub-contractors – both on the ground and in the air – who have made easyJet over the last 20 years such a great investment for its shareholders and such a great brand for its customers.”
Well done easyJet.
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John Jones, Reigate
Congratulation to Stelios who had the vision to spot a change and the courage to back it. Being first takes guts.