EasyJet is getting ready for the London OIympics’ travel boom by adding a fourth London hub in Southend. The new transport base at Southend airport in Essex will be directly linked to Stratford by rail with a direct 40 minute train journey.
EasyJet Plc (EZJ) made the announcement this week and the low cost carrier has already confirmed that they will be offering flights to around 10 destinations at this stage including Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza. EasyJet may also provide an Olympic shuttle service to Southend from some of its European bases, including Madrid, Berlin and Amsterdam.
The company already operates out of Stansted, Luton and Gatwick and the new Southend hub will be its 11th base in the UK. The low cost airline believes that the new base in Southend will attract passengers from Essex, parts of Kent and East London. The company expects to carry 800,000 passengers every year and they have signed a 10-year agreement with Southend airport. This new service will give another option to passengers from Stratford who can already travel to Stansted by train or to London City airport by DLR or Bus. It will also mean a short 40 minute train journey from the new airport destination for passengers coming to Stratford during the London 2012 Olympics. Up to 8 services will run every hour.
There will be eight trains every hour and the journey time to Liverpool Street will be 53 minutes so this new base will also be attracting users from all over London. As well as pulling traffic from Essex, from the Olympic site and East London, it is likely the new EasyJet airport base will also attract business users from the City.
The move represents a significant expansion for Southend airport, which is owned by the Stobart Group and is looking to handle two million passengers every year by 2020. Stobart has already started upgrading the airport’s infrastructure including a new state-of-the-art control tower and a new train station set to open next month. A new terminal building, a new airport hotel and a runway extension will be completed by the end of 2011.
It is expected that about 150 new jobs will be created when the new base starts operating. As to be expected by the low cost carried, fares from Southend airport will be competitive, even during the London 2012 Olympics.
London’s airports: Distance from Stratford, East London
London City – 5 km (DLR/Bus)
Heathrow Airport – 41km (London Underground)
London Stansted – 42km (Direct train)
Gatwick Airport – 44km (London Underground and Train)
London Luton – 46km (London Underground and Train)
London Southend – 49km (Direct train 40 minutes)