EasyJet muscles in on long-haul passengers with new connecting service

Passengers disembark from an Easy Jet flight after arriving at Gibraltar airport in Gibraltar

Passengers disembark from an Easy Jet flight after arriving at Gibraltar airport in Gibraltar

The firm said it was the first global airline connections service created by a low fares carrier.

EasyJet is teaming up with Norwegian and WestJet to offer flights to North and South America, as well as Singapore, from Gatwick.

EasyJet said more long haul airlines are expected to join the scheme soon.

Easyjet will also sell stand-alone tickets on behalf of partner airlines, allowing customers to book flights without connections. It plans to expand the offering to Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Barcelona and two of Europe's busiest transfer hubs, Amsterdam Schiphol airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The airline will not hold flights for connecting passengers.

"It is this market segment that Worldwide by EasyJet will open up for us", he said. Now around 200,000 "self-connect" on easyJet - booking separate easyJet flights and the GatwickConnects product themselves in three different transactions. Passengers that check a bag also need to collect it and hand it on to a specified vendor to help bring it to the connecting flight.

Peter Duffy, chief commercial officer at EasyJet, said around 70m passengers that fly though an EasyJet airport each year are connecting on to other flights, mainly long haul, and nearly 200,000 EasyJet passengers a year already self-connect their EasyJet flights through Gatwick Airport.

British budget airline easyJet launched a new booking platform on Wednesday to allow customers to more easily connect onto long-haul flights with other airlines, moving ahead of its rivals in a potentially lucrative market.

Shares in Norwegian were up 2.9 percent, while easyJet's rose 1 percent.

Previously, you've had to book each flight separately through different websites, but now you can plan your entire journey for certain long-haul trips through EasyJet alone. The service will offer the same connectivity "simply and efficiently", according to Easyjet.

"For us this is a great opportunity to increase passenger traffic on our long-haul routes from Gatwick".

Aviation consultant John Strickland said the deal would make customers' lives easier, but as easyJet already operated very full planes, it was more a case of topping up business where available.

The connectivity has been made possible by a partnership with comparison site Dohop, whose platform will enable Easyjet customers to book connections and forward flights.

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