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EasyJet starts offensive from Basel

EasyJet is increasing its presence in Basel Keystone

EasyJet has announced it is to establish its next continental hub at Basel’s EuroAirport.

The low-cost airline, which has been strengthening its presence in the Swiss market, says it intends to base three additional aircraft as well as create 530 jobs in Basel.

“EasyJet is already the largest airline at Geneva airport and this deal will make us the largest airline at [Basel’s] EuroAirport,” said easyJet chief executive Ray Webster in a statement issued on Thursday.

The news comes in the same week that Switzerland’s troubled national carrier Swiss announced plans to reduce its fleet by at least 13 aircraft and slash up to 1,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs.

This includes cutting staff at Basel airport, with partner airlines taking over many of the routes Swiss currently operates out of the border city.

New destinations

EasyJet, which withdrew services from Zurich last year due to expensive airport charges, has been operating out of Basel since March 2003 and already flies to Berlin and three British destinations.

EuroAirport said that it welcomed easyJet’s decision to expand at Basel.

It said easyJet would base the three additional Airbus aircraft at the airport from June and would be adding up to ten extra routes to its existing schedule. No destinations have yet been revealed.

EuroAirport added that this would create a total of 530 jobs at the airport. Flying crews will be recruited locally.

EasyJet, which has signed a long-term deal with EuroAirport, said Basel recognised the particular needs of low-cost carriers.

It added that it expects the Basel move to increase the number of passengers using the base to 1.5 million in the next 12 months.

swissinfo with agencies

EasyJet was founded in November 1995.
The lost-cost carrier is headquartered in Luton near London.
In November 2003 the number of employees at easyJet was 3,453.
The airline’s expanded base in Basel is expected to create around 530 jobs.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR