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EasyJet’s big plans for 2012 Portugal
Luton-based low-cost airline carrier easyJet looks set to have transported a healthy 3.7 million passengers to Portugal by the end of this year – 200,000 more than in 2010.
According to easyJet Portugal director Javier Gandara, the company is to open its own base in Lisbon in April 2012.
“Our long-term commitment is to continue expanding in Portugal, a market which still has space to grow despite the crisis,” he said in an interview with the business newspaper Negócios.
This was because companies needed to “travel more” and “spend less”. The company estimates that in 2012 it will carry four million passengers, essentially through its new hub in Lisbon.
Last year, easyJet announced that it would open a new base at the city’s Portela airport where it planned to base seven aircraft and invest around €300 million in planes, create 15 new routes and 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Because of the current financial crisis, the company says it has reviewed its goals and has signed a new agreement with the Government with the new changes included.
Javier Gandara said that the “crisis was set in in Portugal”, the price of jet fuel was “through the roof” so “we therefore have to cut our cloth accordingly”.
EasyJet is planning to relocate two new planes to Portugal in addition to the one that it has flying to Funchal, while in the short term at least 100 new jobs are to be created.
The easyJet Portugal director said that Government sweeteners were not the reason for taking the decision to make a base at Lisbon airport but added that it would receive support from the Government-funded ‘initiativa.pt’.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Cecília Meireles, said that the new base was “very important for tourism” and would not only “bring in an extra two million passengers a year” but would also have a spinoff benefit to tourism worth €600 million.
In April 2012, easyJet is to launch new routes to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Venice, and Asturias, which will join the 16 existing routes. In 2012, the ‘low cost’ airline expects to transport 225,000 passengers from Lisbon alone.
In the initial phase, easyJet will operate out of Terminal 2 and then will move to another airport which the Government will choose at a later date.
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