EasyJet expands with GB Airways buy

EasyJet is buying GB Airways for £103.5 million and following its purchase will operate 24% of the slots at Gatwick airport.

GB Airways serves 28 routes from Gatwick, mainly to southern Europe and northern Africa, plus six from Manchester and five from Heathrow. After its acquisition of the company, easyJet will operate 62 routes from Gatwick and carry around 8 million passengers.

“This is an acquisition which both strengthens our customer offering at London Gatwick, our biggest base with an attractive catchment area, and allows us to fully capitalise on the potential of the airport through a larger number of slots. The deal will bring major benefits to both easyJet and GB Airways customers, delivering a wider choice of destinations at easyJet’s great prices,” says easyJet chief executive, Andy Harrison.

GB Airways operated under a franchise agreement with British Airways, and BA says it had an option to buy the airline but rejected it. “We have a significant base at Gatwick and our focus will be on maintaining and developing it as an integral part of our business,” explains BA chief executive, Willie Walsh.

BA plans to start services from Gatwick to Faro, Gibraltar, Ibiza, Malaga, Palma and Tunis, plus services from Heathrow to Faro and Malaga, when the franchise agreement comes to an end on 30 March next year.

GB Airways will continue to operate under the BA brand until 29 March 2008, after which flights will operate under the easyJet brand. GB Airways carried 2.8 million passengers in the year ending 31 March 2007 and had pre-tax profits of £2.6 million, gross assets of £182 million and net assets of £33 million.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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EasyJet Expands With GB Airways Buy