EasyJet has reaffirmed its intention to launch its new tour operation by the end of 2019, promising to use its lower cost base to shake up the market following a succession of operator failures.
Speaking to TTG at the World Aviation Festival in London on Thursday (5 September), chief executive Johan Lundgren said the new-look easyJet Holidays would be unveiled “late in the calendar year”, but declined to be more specific on the date.
"It’s very clear there is a significant opportunity for us, but we want to get it right," he said. "We are in the process of signing a number of hotels and progress is good.”
Lundgren earlier told delegates easyJet Holidays would use new technologies to make sure it offered “a different proposition” to competitors.
The airline has had a tour operation since 2015, but has until now not contracted its own hotels.
Lundgren said the current spate of operator failures meant now was the perfect time to relaunch easyJet Holidays.
“We have the network, we have a 25-30% lower cost base than competitors [and] we have more slots than any other airline in the world with multiple frequencies per day,” said Lundgren.
He added the easyJet network would offer unrivalled duration flexibility. “Flexibility used to be attached to price,” he said, adding the new easyJet Holidays would offer “a mix of flexibility, value and quality of product”.
He said there had been “enormous interest from the best hotels in Europe” for the venture.
EasyJet will this year carry 100 million passengers. Lundgren said the carrier had historically expanded by 3-8% a year, but that the current environment meant capacity would increase “at the lower end of that spectrum”.
He said he had not seen any fall in demand as a result of “flight shaming”, but added: “There is a different level of awareness in different countries, but people are not booking less.”