EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren is pressing ahead with plans to partner directly with hotels to boost ancillary revenues, despite other two other major European LCCs stepping back from leisure-holiday packaging.

In January, Ryanair announced the closure of its Ryanair Holidays business, just two years after the service was launched as part of the Irish LCC’s plan to become the “Amazon of Travel.”

This followed a similar move from Central and Eastern European LCC Wizz Air, which closed package holiday business Wizz Tours in December 2018.

During an exclusive interview with ATW at the Airlines for Europe (A4E) Aviation Summit, Lundgren—who spent part of his career with tour operator TUI Group—said he still sees scope for hotel partnerships and an increased focus on holidaymakers.

“We have taken a different approach,” Lundgren told ATW. “EasyJet holidays launched in 2015. There is a lot of revenue potential; the opportunity is too big not to capture it.”

UK LCC easyJet plans to seek direct arrangements with hotels, rather than going to a consolidator. This requires increased manpower on easyJet holidays. Lundgren has therefore brought former TUI product and purchasing managing director Garry Wilson onboard as CEO of easyJet holidays, tasked with tapping that potential.

Explaining the rationale behind that investment, he said 20 million passengers fly with easyJet, but only 500,000 book hotels with the airline.

“We are doing clear investment into that area. We have dedicated resources for that,” Lundgren said. “We don’t want to take resources from the core airline to focus on something else. Our core airline people focus on what they do.”

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com