EasyJet links up with long-haul flights at London Gatwick » Manila Bulletin Business

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EasyJet Plc. struck a deal with Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and Canada’s  WestJet Ltd. allowing its passengers to transfer onto their long-haul flights at London Gatwick airport.

Europe’s second-biggest discount airline is exploring similar accords with Middle Eastern and East Asian carriers, and plans to extend the service to some of its other major bases, according to a statement Wednesday. Customers will also be able to transfer between its own flights at Gatwick.

EasyJet is adding long-haul links before bigger low-cost rival Ryanair Holdings Plc., which has yet to implement deals with Norwegian Air, Air Europa and IAG SA’s Aer Lingus, and offers transfers between its own flights only in Italy. The “Worldwide by EasyJet” service will be available where there is a 2 1/2 hour gap between flights, and planes won’t be held for transfer passengers.

People will be required to collect their own bag off the carousel at Gatwick at a cost of 15 pounds ($20) and hand them in for loading onto the next flight. While the plan, which goes live today, is “constructive,” EasyJet “will need to ensure its Gatwick punctuality becomes more resilient,” RBC Capital Markets analyst  Damian Brewer said in an investor note.

Almost 200,000 EasyJet customers already self-connect between its flights at Gatwick – amounting to about 1 percent of the total – indicating the appetite for a more formal arrangement, according to the company. It doesn’t have data on people linking up with onward services provided by other airlines.

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In the event of a delay Gatwick will put passengers on the next available onward flight, Luton, England-based EasyJet said, adding that the through-tickets bookable via its website will be priced at the same level as fares for individual legs.

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