EasyJet and London Gatwick believe their new seven-year commercial deal will enable them to develop airport facilities in the interests of both parties in a way a fully regulated regime does not.
The UK carrier today announced a long-term commercial deal operating within the regulatory framework covering the south London airport. "In a commitments framework, Gatwick and EasyJet interests are aligned. In the previous world, I think the airline and airport are not necessarily aligned on how you treat the infrastructure," EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall told journalists at London Gatwick today.
London Gatwick chief commercial officer Guy Stephenson says: "With a traditional price cap, its a case of one size fits all." But he notes that under the EasyJet deal reached within the new commitments framework – which replaces the existing regulatory regime at Gatwick from the start of April – it can work in more of a partnership with the airline.
"It allows Gatwick to work on the things that really matter to an airline," says McCall, noting that the requirements for EasyJet differ from those of a long-haul operator at the airport, such as Virgin Atlantic. "For us it is to have a really functional, good space, but the key things are speed and efficiency," she says.
One of the hopes of the co-operation is to ultimately consolidate EasyJet operations in Gatwick's north terminal.
"We will work towards a single terminal operation over the next couple of years. We will gain operating efficiencies and it's better from a passenger point of view," says McCall. A consultation on such a move has now begun with other operators at Gatwick, where EasyJet is the largest carrier and would already overspill the south terminal today.
"It's not as easy as it looks to move into one terminal," she adds. "Now we have it as the end goal, we'll start moving towards it. There's a commitment to do it."