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easyJet will fight to fly from Heathrow

Britain’s biggest budget airline hopes to fly from Heathrow airport – even though its application for 14 daily take-off and landing slots has just been rejected.

At present, easyJet’s main London base is Gatwick airport. It also has a big operation at Luton airport, location of its headquarters.

In the past, easyJet has said it plans a big presence at Heathrow when a third runway is built. But with any expansion delayed beyond the 2020s, the carrier is now actively seeking slots during “the current industry landscape”.

Heathrow has no control over which airlines fly from the airport. Slots are dispensed by Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL), an independent body that follows complex rules on allocation of these precious assets.

In the latest round of slot requests for the summer season in 2021, easyJet asked ACL for 98 weekly slots, allowing 14 daily take-offs and landings.

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Only Loganair, the Scottish airline, asked for more: 138.

But of the dozens of airline applications for thousands of slots, only four were granted: to the Chinese carrier, Shenzhen Airlines.

After the decision, an easyJet spokesperson told The Independent: “As Heathrow is one of the very few top 50 airports in Europe where we don’t currently operate, we remain interested in potentially starting operations there as we believe we could lower prices and bolster competition at the airport.

“Given the current industry landscape, we wanted to explore if this would provide opportunity for available slots at Heathrow. While this hasn’t been possible this time, we will continue to look for opportunities across Europe’s slot constrained airports as they arise.”

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