Travel News

Brums on seats: fares war steps up from Birmingham airport as easyJet opens base

Mediterranean air fares could be cheaper from Birmingham airport this summer as easyJet takes on Ryanair, Jet2 and Tui.

Britain’s biggest budget airline will launch a new base at the West Midlands airport with three aircraft. It is targeting key summer sun destinations, including the Spanish costas and Greek islands.

The aviation schedule analyst, Sean Moulton, said: “easyJet coming to Birmingham has led to significant competition, which should be good for the customer.”

The airline currently has a dozen routes to and from Birmingham, served by aircraft from other airports.

The new base will add 16 new links. Five serve key resort airports in Spain: Alicante, Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Malaga and Tenerife. All five face competition from both Jet2 and Ryanair – with Tui and the Spanish budget airline Vueling also competing.

One-way flights from Birmingham to Barcelona are selling for as little as £26 on a range of dates in June.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, told The Independent: “Competition is good. It keeps us on our toes when it comes to delivering a great product and great value at fantastic fares.

“This industry always has some fare wars going on. And I think it’s great because it does give consumers a great opportunity to to travel in a way that is not only for rich and privileged people.

“Our average fare, from everything that is on sale across the whole of network still sells for under £50.

“So we’re extremely excited about our entry into Birmingham.”

A further four new links are to Greek islands: Corfu, Heraklion in Crete, Kos and Rhodes.

The longest new route is to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey are the second and third most distant respectively.

New easyJet flights are also being introduced to Berlin, Jersey, Larnaca in Cyprus and Enfidha in Tunisia.

Mr Moulton said: “Berlin will go from being unserved for many years to two carriers, as well as Jersey and Sharm receiving competition.”

Birmingham will be easyJet’s first new base in the UK for 12 years. In recent years the carrier has closed bases at East Midlands, Newcastle, Stansted and Southend.

The chief executive of the West Midlands airport, Nick Barton, told The Independent that the winner would be the passenger.

“None of the airlines are fearful of competition, so we can only expect to see them challenging each other and getting better. That’s what they’ve done down the recent history of aviation.

“So we are very, very comfortable in seeing that competitive tension between the airlines.”

For more travel news, views and advice from Simon, download his daily Independent Travel podcast.

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