As Israeli airlines clashed
with the government over the "open skies" agreement,
European low-cost airline easyJet announced plans to conquer Israel's skies.
The company is launching these days an aggressive marketing campaign in London, aimed at promoting tourism to Tel Aviv among young people and couples without children, under the banner "Go Big in Tel Aviv."
The activity is part of easyJet's spring campaign in cooperation with Israel's
Tourism Minister, which includes billboard advertising and ads in leading websites and newspapers.
In the coming days, taxicabs in London will be covered with ads calling on the airline's passengers to take a vacation in Tel Aviv and enjoy a different experience, stressing the city's vibrant nightlife.
"When we started flying to Israel, we never imagined it would be such a success," says Hugh Aitken, easyJet's commercial manager in the United Kingdom.
According to Aitken, easyJet's London-Tel Aviv route
is one of the company's most successful lines, and the airline's goal is to double the number of passengers using this route. Currently, 66% of the passengers are British, and the company is interested in increasing the number of Israeli travelers.
"Within three years we went from three flights a week on the London route to nine flights, and in a few months we'll move up to 11 flights, at high occupancy," says Aitken.
easyJet, the biggest airline in Europe operating flights to Israel from London, Manchester, Basel and Geneva, is eagerly anticipating the implementation of the "open skies" agreement.
Following the agreement's approval, the company is preparing to offer flights to Israel from Rome, Milan, Paris, Nice, Berlin and every other destination the company is based in and where market research conducted by its commercial department will justify the opening of a new line.
In order to understand the meaning of the company's "market research," one must visit the easyJet headquarters at the Luton Airport near London and witness the operation of the nerve center of the company which carries more than 60 million passengers a year.
In the headquarters, located inside a huge hangar which is also used for aircraft maintenance, there are no offices, no separation between employees, and they all work together in harmony in an open space. Even CEO Carolyn McCall doesn’t have an office, and she sits together with all the other workers in the open space.
"Before launching a new destination," says Aitken, "we conduct a profitability analysis. Even after we open a new destination, we examine it several months later in order to see the growth in traffic on the one hand and the level of income on the other hand. The fact that we can't recall ever shutting down a route proves that we are doing a good job."
easyJet's prices, like all low-cost companies, are based on the following standard: The earlier you book your trip – the cheaper the flight ticket. For example, passengers booking a flight to London for January 2014 will pay $280 for a roundtrip ticket.