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The evolution
of easyJet — December 2019

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EasyJet and Ryanair were both children of wrath. Or at least September 11 2001 transformed the prospects of the two barely-established new entrants. As traffic collapsed, orders were cancelled and traditional carriers teetered, the two manufacturers turned their attention to the new LCCs, suddenly desperate to strike deals.

Both easyJet and Ryanair negotiated and placed mega-orders at hugely discounted unit prices, locking in a long-term critical cost advantage as the purchase contracts included price guarantees that were carried through to future orders. Ryanair choose the maximum seat capacity available — the 189-seat 737-800 — while easyJet eventually opted for the 156-seat A319 rather than the 737-700. The Airbus/Boeing decision was extremely close, and no single factor was decisive, but easyJet went for Airbus, switching from its previous 737-300 fleet policy, bringing an unforeseeable advantage 17 years later. EasyJet management at the time had no precise idea of where the 240 new A319s would operate but there was belief in the operating model, which has generally been justified.


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