LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - British budget airline easyJet has secured more space at London’s Luton airport to be able to carry 20 percent more passengers next year, as it looks to put new planes to use.
EasyJet said on Monday the expansion was part of a new ten-year deal it signed with the airport. It did not give financial terms of the deal.
EasyJet reached a seven-year agreement with London Gatwick, its biggest base, on Thursday, where it plans to be able to carry 10 percent more passengers by this time next year.
“Around 60 percent of what we will do is thickening our routes and frequencies and about 30 percent to 40 percent will be about new destinations,” chief executive Carolyn McCall said of the plans at Luton.
The company has 135 jets on order from Airbus to help fly the new routes.
Luton, home to easyJet’s headquarters, is the fourth busiest airport in the London region. It is waiting for government approval for a 150 million pound ($249 million) redevelopment.
The number of passengers travelling with easyJet from Luton could more than double to around 9 million in the coming years if the revamp is given the green light, the airline said.
Lawmakers and business leaders agree that south-east England needs new runways to help the country remain economically competitive and a recommendation about where they should go will be made by the Airports Commission in the second half of next year, but building would not complete until the middle 2020s.
London’s biggest airport, Heathrow, is operating at 98 percent of its potential.
“London Luton can make a real and immediate contribution to the need for more airport capacity in the south east,” McCall said.
Luton airport is owned by the local council and has been operated by Ardian and AENA Group, an investment firm and an airport operating company respectively, since November 2013.
$1 = 0.6019 British Pounds Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Potter