Luton-based low-cost carrier easyJet has started the formal process of acquiring an air operator certificate (AOC) in another European country after the UK voted to leave the EU.
The airline currently operates on a UK AOC which enables it to operate across Europe but after the referendum result and the uncertainty surrounding how it would affect the European Open Skies agreement, the airline has begun putting its contingency plan into action.
“easyJet is lobbying the UK government and the EU to ensure the continuation of a fully liberal and deregulated aviation market within the UK and Europe,” a statement on its website read. “This would mean that easyJet and all European airlines can continue to operate as they do today and this objective has been supported by European airlines, with Airlines For Europe, Europe’s main airline association.
“As part of easyJet’s contingency planning before the referendum we had informal discussions with a number of European aviation regulators about the establishment of an AOC (air operator certificate) in a European country to enable easyJet to fly across Europe as we do today.
“easyJet has now started a formal process to acquire an AOC.”
The airline said that until the outcome of the UK/EU negotiations are known, it will not need to make any structural or operational changes. It also reaffirmed its commitment to Luton where it has been based for 20 years.
EasyJet has started to roll out a higher-density seating configuration across its Airbus A320 fleet after becoming the first customer to adopt the European manufacturer’s 186-seat Space-Flex cabin. The London Luton-based based low-cost carrier is incorporating the revised layout as standard on new-build aircraft, the first of which, G-EZPI (c/n 7104), was handed over in Toulouse on May 19. This has since been joined by a further three examples – G-EZPJ (c/n 7132), G-EZPK (c/n 7177) and G-EZPL (c/n 7183).
EasyJet said the new A320s will not only deliver cost per seat savings when compared with its current 180-seat examples, but will also support the carrier’s target to reduce its carbon emissions per passenger kilometre by 18% by 2020 compared to the 2013 figures.
Internally, the cabin has received a number of improvements to accomodate the additional seating including new modern galleys, a partition in front of row one providing passengers with more privacy and protection during boarding and a fully wheelchair accessible toilet in the rear cabin, while it has also rolled out a new tray table design that can accomodate a tablet device. Despite the increase in seating, both the average seat pitch and minimum seat pitch across the fleet has remained the same. This has been achieved by using previously unused space at the rear of the aircraft.
Gary Smith, Business Lead for the new jets, said: “With the new aircraft configuration, we took the opportunity to look at all aspects of our cabin design and the result is a really clean, modern new look. We now have LED lighting throughout and an updated colour scheme. The new partition provides front row passengers with an enhanced experience while allowing our crew space in which to rest. We are the first A320 operator with the Space-Flex configuration and all our new A320s will now be delivered with 186 seats. Additionally, our existing fleet of 180-seat A320s will be retrofitted and upgraded over the next two years.”
The airline is set to receive four more 186-configured A320 this coming summer, all of which will be based at London/Gatwick.
British low-cost carrier easyJet has launched a new recruitment programme aimed at adding up to 450 new pilots. This includes 400 new cadet pilot positions, along with a further 50 Direct Entry Captains.
The Luton-based airline’s Head of Flight Operations, Captain Brian Tyrrell, said: “We’re really pleased to have opened recruitment for more than 450 new easyJet pilot positions. We pride ourselves on having a team of the highest talent and we offer our pilots a clear career path with the opportunity to develop from First Officer to Captain quicker than at other airlines. This is an exciting time to join easyJet as we continue to grow and develop to maintain our position as Europe’s leading airline and I look forward to welcoming the successful applicants in the near future.”
EasyJet added that new cadets will undertake their flying training with one of the carrier’s three partners – CTC Aviation, CAE or FTEJerez.