EasyJet to expand Scottish flight network

EasyJet chief Carolyn McCall said the budget airline plans to grow by 7 per cent in 2017. Picture: Jane Barlow

EasyJet chief Carolyn McCall said the budget airline plans to grow by 7 per cent in 2017. Picture: Jane Barlow

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EasyJet plans to expand its flight network in Scotland after carrying more than six million passengers to and from the country over the past year.

The airline currently flies to about 60 European airports from bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, and employs 630 people in Scotland.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said it plans to grow by 7% over the next year with more flights and new jobs.

Proposed Scottish Government plans to cut air passenger duty have been welcomed by the airline and Ms McCall met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week to discuss easyJet’s planned investment.

Ms McCall said: “We are continuing to invest and grow in Scotland, so we can offer our customers in Scotland the best value for money and widest choice of flights.

“EasyJet’s first flights were between Scotland and London and 21 years later we are very pleased to have carried a record six million passengers this year.

“This year we have already introduced new routes to Marseille, Venice and Vienna, and next month we will open up the first connection between Inverness and Geneva.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to reduce air passenger duty and a full 50% cut in spring 2018 would allow easyJet to increase our flights to and from Scotland by around 30%, quickly delivering further benefits for Scotland’s economy.”

The First Minister was encouraged by easyJet’s expansion plans “in the face of the threat Brexit poses to Scotland’s economy”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Ensuring strong air links across Europe and beyond is crucial to Scotland’s economy and prosperity.

“That is why it is so encouraging to hear that easyJet is looking at ways to protect this vital relationship in the face of the threat Brexit poses to Scotland’s economy.

“The company’s confidence in investing in Scotland and aspirations for further, very significant growth, is good news for Scotland and highlights once again that Scotland is an attractive place to do business.”

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