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easyJet to be flying to Cyprus by April October 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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EasyJet could begin flying to Cyprus from April next year after the low-cost carrier bought out GB Airways, which operates flights to the island.

Under the deal, GB Airways will continue to fly under its own name until March 29, after which all flights will be carried out under the ‘easy’ brand.

However, easyJet flights to Cyprus are not a certainty. A spokeswoman for the group said: “GB airways will continue to operate business as usual until March 29, 2008, after this date the operation will continue under the easyJet brand with easyJet terms and conditions. It will not be until this time the airline will be in a position to make decisions about specific routes. However, easyJet will contact all passengers due to travel after March 29 to advise if there are any changes.”

Until now, easyJet has avoided flights to Cyprus, despite the Cypriot origins of the airline’s founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Late last year, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation had been negotiating with easyJet and another low-cost carrier to bring more no-frills airline to Cyprus. Low-cost carriers have been difficult to attract, due to the distance from the UK, as they usually operate within a three-hour time frame and Cyprus is some four and a half hours flying time from Britain.

A statement from easyJet said its acquisition of GB Airways was consistent with the airline’s expansion strategy and strengthened its customer offering at Gatwick, the airline’s biggest base. Following the acquisition for £103.5 million, easyJet will operate 24 per cent of Gatwick’s slots and will fly approximately 8 million passengers across 62 routes from Gatwick.

GB Airways is primarily a London Gatwick based point-to-point airline operating to destinations across Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with British Airways.

EasyJet said that by Winter 2008/09, GB Airways would be fully consolidated into the easyJet business model. Andy Harrison, Chief Executive of easyJet, said: “This is an acquisition which both strengthens our customer offering at London Gatwick, our biggest base with an attractive catchment area, and allows us to fully capitalise on the potential of the airport through a larger number of slots. The deal will bring major benefits to both easyJet and GB Airways customers, delivering a wider choice of destinations at easyJet’s great prices, and creating clear value for our shareholders.”

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