Ryanair says it will launch a new base at London Southend Airport, in direct competition with easyJet.
Two low-cost giants will clash at the unlikely battleground of Southend. As airports around the UK capital become overwhelmed with traffic, the relatively new London Southend Airport, around 60 kilometres northeast of central London, is becoming an attractive option.
Europe’s biggest budget airline, Ryanair, has just announced a new base there, taking on its longtime rival easyJet, which already operates flights from there to destinations like Paris, Barcelona and Malta. The regional carrier Flybe also flies from Southend.
Ryanair will base three planes at Southend from summer 2019, with almost 60 weekly flights to 13 mostly holiday destinations in eight countries.
These will be to, for example, Alicante, Bilbao, Brest, Corfu, Dublin, Faro, Malaga, Milan, Palma and Venice. Some of these places are already easyJet destinations from the same small airport.
“Ryanair guests travelling to and from London and the Essex area can now enjoy low fares on a choice of 13 routes through London Southend’s exceptionally passenger friendly terminal,” said David O’Brien, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer.
Millions have been invested into transforming Southend into a state-of-the-art airport, and in setting up a base there Ryanair is also sounding a warning to London Stansted, its main base, the Independent newspaper writes – the message that it is prepared to grow elsewhere.
Airlines are aware that passengers are increasingly tired of the poor service standards at airports like Stansted and Luton.
Warwick Brady, chief executive of Stobart Group, which owns the airport in Southend, said, “Passengers are increasingly turning to London Southend Airport amid the capacity crisis found elsewhere in the capital, where holidaymakers and business travellers face frustration from overcrowded airports, impacting on customer service.”