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Old 28th Dec 2013, 16:03
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It would seem the domestic routes do not work well from Southend.
Clearly the principal reason why EDI and BFS have failed is owing to a lack of early morning / late night rail services rather than insufficient demand. This is something which the airport needs to urgently resolve. I have no doubt attempts have been made, yet already it is having an adverse impact on the success of easyJet's services from SEN. Naturally the holiday routes are less dependent on rail connectivity, hence why early morning departure / late night arrival times have not precluded their success.

EasyJet is probably going to attract little more than very local predominantly outbound leisure passengers going on popular sun, ski or city break holidays.
Why?

If the profile of routes matches this, why is this necessarily a problem? As long as there are adequate connections to London, I see absolutely no reason why a small, easy to transit through airport will not be appealing for inbound passengers and passengers from the wider London area. From the airport own surverys, 30% of the passengers originated from London in 2012. Anecdotally the AMS service has a considerable customer base of Netherlands originating passengers.

I believe that within time EasyJet's growth at Southend will stagnate.
Well that's a given! Clearly Southend will only ever be a regional airport, the potential for growth is limited. For the time being however, Southend has a useful purpose for easyJet. A lack of direct competition from Ryanair is a very strong reason to transfer routes across. Both ALC and BCN performed well from SEN in 2012 when they were operated by easyJet from STN too. Surely the initial success of these routes was a pre-requisite for the complete transfer of these routes?
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:05
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Clearly the principal reason why EDI and BFS have failed is owing to a lack of early morning / late night rail services rather than insufficient demand.

Naturally the holiday routes are less dependent on rail connectivity, hence why early morning departure / late night arrival times have not precluded their success.

I see your point but the lack of rail services at these times ultimately results in insufficient demand. The fact rail services to London take longer than from other airports, even if only by 10 minutes and are on a general commuter service rather than an airport service like the Gatwick or Stansted Express is also likely to effect appeal to business passengers.


Also as I mentioned the more limited options in terms of hotels, car parking, transportation, shopping or business lounge services also is likely to impact.


You are definitely right in saying holiday routes are less dependant on rail services, not to mention all those other facilities so they of course as it would seem perform much better.


If the profile of routes matches this, why is this necessarily a problem?

Because EasyJet have clearly come in with an intention to serve both domestic and business travel alongside leisure passengers and have been unsuccessful to a degree. They are now more limited to focusing on leisure based destinations which limits and reduces growth opportunities for the future.


Whilst this is much less of a consideration, it means some aircraft may have to operate quite inefficient schedules whereby the last flight may arrive at only 8 or 9pm or the first doesn't leave until 9 or 10am as there are very few short sector flights remaining. This can result into what is known as "slot sitting" where often shorter flights are scheduled simply as it is more profitable to fly something rather than nothing at all, not necessarily because the level of demand requires it. This maybe what is happening to the Amsterdam route when it goes to 3x daily in the spring.


Surely the initial success of these routes was a pre-requisite for the complete transfer of these routes?

The reality is there is one of two reasons to explain this:


1. There is not sufficient demand to support the viability of services on these routes from both airports


2. EasyJet is squeezing naturally healthier yields out of Southend by forcing this area of the market (predominantly Essex) to use Southend by closing duplicate routes at Stansted (in other words, people who would have chosen Stansted for these routes now have to go to Southend since they no longer have the choice to use Stansted if they continue to use EasyJet).


Take your pick, but my vote goes to the 2nd one. EasyJet used to fly easily up to 3x daily on Alicante, Faro etc. from Stansted alone only 2/3 years ago and now only once or twice daily from Southend. There is certainly enough demand to support the viability of these routes at both airports. Instead EasyJet clearly just chooses not to for strategic reasons.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:18
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I've had cause to disagree with some of FRatSTN's comments about SEN in the past, but I must say that I broadly agree with his analysis of the EZY situation at SEN and STN. Bucket and spade routes will be the main successes from SEN, and I think these routes will be able to sustain EZY's operations from the airport. They could also try more routes to eastern Europe and Scandinavia but, again, these will mainly be leisure routes.

I also think the route to EDI would work better if the trains were available. Apparently SEN will struggle to get Network Rail to agree to allow trains to operate earlier and later because they say they need the night hours for maintenance of the track. Seems daft to me, but apparently that's the reason. So why don't SEN run an effective coach service to Stratford and Liverpool Street early and late in the day?
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 19:36
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FRatSTN

I appreciate your response, and having looked back and read some of your many previous posts about easyJet and SEN vs STN, I don't wish to start another extended debate here.

To reiterate, my fundamental point here is that from the wider London area there is huge demand for easyJet services to EDI and BFS. If early morning / late night train services to SEN become availible, I see no reason why a business traveler friendly schedule to both destinations from Southend would not be successful.

Although by no means perfect, I maintain that business traveler friendly routes have the potential to be a significant part of easyJet's operations from SEN. Much like LCY, short transit times are appreciated by business travelers and travel times to Central London (and especially Stratford and Canary Wharf) are competitive. I don't regard SENs hotel, car parking or business lounge facilities as detrimental for business travelers. The lack of success of the EDI and BFS routes, primarily owing to a lack of connectivity is not in my view sufficient evidence to write SEN off as an in effect 'leisure only' airport for easyJet.

I don't feel this is an unreasonable position - and to avoid clogging what is the easyJet thread, FRastSTN please feel free to send a private message if you want to debate this further.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 20:57
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I think everybody should have the option to comment on this should they choose to so will post here publically as usual. I would not say a debate that is very relevant to the various markets and operations of EasyJet is clogging the thread.


The point I think you may be missing is that in any case, short transit times is not an appreciation but most often a fundamental aspect of business travel. This is reflected in EasyJet's choice of airports across it's entire network by it's strategy of using primary airports in close proximity to the city they serve.


I don't regard SENs hotel, car parking or business lounge facilities as detrimental for business travellers.

Neither do I but the point is that the larger airports have a far greater range of services aimed at different travel markets with various options available that best suit ones needs. Remember that business travellers are much less flexible than leisure and often have very specific needs which based on this, the larger airports are more likely to meet.


No one is suggesting that Southend's provision of services and facilities is detrimental but it lacks that same level of choice. In modern day aviation travel one of the most crucial aspects for a successful and profitable operation is to provide choice! This is especially applicable to business travel to suit those very specific needs!


This is why I was initially very displeased and still am to a certain degree that EasyJet cut so much capacity at Stansted, because it was taking the choice away from consumers!!


The nature of Southend mainly due to its size is that the choice of services and facilities provided cannot and will not be on par with those at the other London airports. That is why all that demand you mention to BFS and EDI from the wider London area who do have a choice of four airports are not choosing Southend!


The fact of the matter is that the rail services are unlikely to change and whilst that is likely to adversely effect the appeal to business travel, I think the root of the issue goes much further than early morning rail services from the capital.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 00:14
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BFS route ...

The comments that suggest that the EZY SEN - BFS route has failed due the lack of an early morning train service are complete tosh in my view . The greatest demand on flights between these two cities in the morning is originating in Belfast. Therefore I contend to properly assess if a BFS SEN route is viable, a BFS based unit should have operated the route with say a 0630/0640 departure.

Personally, I sense that there is some work yet to do in convincing the travelling public that SEN is a credible alternative to the more established London airports. In the mean time easyJet is getting good uptake on leisure orientated routes by locals . The specific data will be known by easyJet ... Who are in a position to diagnose the actual position

The suggestion that AerLingus Regional are to develop some of these shorter routes needs to be given consideration , however the brand is strongly identified for flying to / from Ireland (aer Lingus) , and therefore the airport should perhaps ensure the correct brand is chosen/ attracted . As if these routes don't work if will be difficult to restart them in future .
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 09:28
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The argument may be academic anyway. According to a reply to someone on the EZY FB page asking if the EDI route would stop in June:

easyJet wrote: "Hi Neil, according to the information we have this route will still be available all year long. Hope this helps, Clarissa."

Now I know that the EZY guys replying to FB requests don't have the full picture by any means, but I would have thought that she would have said that she did not know the answer rather than what she did.


Certainly the load factors (not yield, I know....) in December have been high on the SEN-EDI flights.

In reply to another chap asking if any new routes were to be offered from SEN during 2014 EZY replied:

"Hello John, Yes, we do. Please keep an eye on our profile as we'll keep you informed as soon as we have an update."


So, make of those replies what you will.....
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 11:31
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And now from the EZY FB site:
easyJet Hi , most of the flights from Edinburgh to Southend for June are fully booked. There are still seats available for 11,12 and 14th of June. Clarissa

Would they really shut down a service that's fully booked on most flights.......?.

Yes, I know they would.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 12:03
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Short haul and particularly UK domestic routes have very short booking lead times .It is inconceivable that a large number of flights in June i.e. Nearly 6 months away are fully booked...one date because of a large group maybe but not a series of flights.The flights are either not operating or have been closed out possibly pending a decision to cancel or not.

It's also very strange that availability ends mid Month.If it was beginning of a new season or even beginning of a new month might be possible that schedules not finalized ,but mid month ?

Also lack of availability in 2nd half of month will affect bookings on flights which are available earlier in the month as a lot of people looking to book round trips will go elsewhere if they can't book return sector .

Very strange and Clarissa at Easyjet seems completely in the dark !
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 12:57
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Short haul and particularly UK domestic routes have very short booking lead times .It is inconceivable that a large number of flights in June i.e. Nearly 6 months away are fully booked...one date because of a large group maybe but not a series of flights.The flights are either not operating or have been closed out possibly pending a decision to cancel or not.
If fully booked it would mean putting on additional flights but somehow doubt that is a scenario. Agree that it seems that FB is not most accurate of info being put forward.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 13:52
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Basing aircraft at Southend with its limited rail access to London and the fact that it is only open 18 hours a day was always going to be a leap of faith as far as scheduling is concerned.
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Old 30th Dec 2013, 10:14
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It's also very strange that availability ends mid Month.If it was beginning of a new season or even beginning of a new month might be possible that schedules not finalized ,but mid month ?
In darkest Middlesex you may not be aware that Scottish schools' summer holidays start at end-June. The last school day in Edinburgh will be 27 June 2014 as will be the case, I'm sure, in surrounding council areas
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Old 30th Dec 2013, 12:35
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The social media relations teams are quite far down the commercial chain, indeed the call centre staff are often just as far down and presented with limited visibility. Both teams often have no more information than we do by looking at the website.
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Old 1st Jan 2014, 12:54
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Increased capacity MAN - TLV?

Some time ago it was posted that the MAN-TLV route would increase from twice to three times a week in the late winter early spring and then five weekly from the early summer.

The three weekly appears to be in operation for a couple of months (March & April) but then drops down to two a week again. What happened to the five a week?
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 10:04
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BFS-BRU ?

Personally, I'd like to see the addition of BFS-BRU and I'm surprised that thus far it's only LGW from the UK that ops to/from BRU. I say "personally" for purely selfish reasons only because I live/work in Maastricht in The Netherlands and BRU is handier by far as opposed to the trek up north to AMS.

However, I would've thought that there would be sufficient demand from the regional capitals BFS, EDI & CWL (..although ops ex BRS of course) to warrant even a daily service given the politics and the direct relationship between those individual regions and the European institutions based in BRU.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 10:26
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BDKLEZ,

A BRU link would be great, however, most unlikely to be suitable for easyJet. Rome as an example didn't work from BFS by any operator, well not so much so that they wanted to retain it. Same goes for many other routes ..

Cork has sustained twice weekly BRU route, though for Belfast (either airport ) I'd suggest this route would be the domain of an operator such as one that operates smaller aircraft perhaps EMB jet (145/175).

If BACF could be attracted to run a BHD LCY BRU routing that could be a good way to test demand ....

Last edited by EI-BUD; 2nd Jan 2014 at 16:52.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 10:46
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OSTEND

I'm surprised that EZY or RYR have not looked at Ostend as a viable destination from the UK.
North of Birmingham, we don't have easy access to cross channel rail/tunnel services to Europe.
A short flight from EDI /GLA / BFS / MAN would link us up to the continental rail network. Ostend is a good destination in itself & easy for visits to Brugges & Brussels.
Certainly a good leisure destination.Being a small airport, I would of thought easy to get in and out with no congestion.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 11:11
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Ryanair tried Ostend about 10 years ago.
From MAN + EDI, Ryanair already fly to Charleroi. Would Ostend be significantly easier to reach from Brussels in comparison ?
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 13:15
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Yes, but Ryanair tried Ostend from London. The SE is well served by the Channel Tunnel and ferry connections; Ostend is actually not far from Calais. It is not surprising that an Ostend service did not succeed in the SE market.

Manchester and points north are a different matter entirely. Ferries from Dover to Calais and/or the Channel Tunnel must be accessed via expensive and time-consuming overland journeys. The London area must be transited. Alternatively, long North Sea ferry crossings could be considered. But whichever way you tackle it, Oostende/Brugge is not an easy journey from Northern England and Scotland.

Mr A Tis has it right. The region surrounding Oostende/Brugge is attractive for tourism, there are no airport constraints and flying time from MAN should be just about an hour. The fact that RYR failed in the saturated London market should not exclude consideration of a market with quite different dynamics.

With regard to overland travel from Charleroi to Ostend, this can be done but it is not an ideal choice. Probably 3 to 4 hours by train. There used to be a through service but I'm not sure whether there still is; you'd probably require a change at Brussels. Ostend from Brussels Zaventem is around 2.5 hours by rail, usually with a change in Brussels.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 16:10
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With easyJet axing their SEN-NQY route & reducing their SEN-JER service, I wonder if we might see these routes reappear but from LTN?

LTN needs a new operator to JER whilst a NQY service could provide an alternative for people to the North of London, rather than having to fly from LGW.

Just a thought....
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