Two easyJet mea culpas

In the press last weekend two top easyJet executives explained the reasons for the serious problems of last Summer. The explanations were not identical, nor complete.

This newspaper reported last Saturday, 3 September, the explanations of the easyJet managing director, Carolyn McCall, for the many delays and cancellations of easyJet flights during the Summer of 2010. Her main point was that the company had not had enough flying crew for all the flights meant to be operated. She admitted that the attempts to reduce costs by reducing personnel had backfired, saying that since then the company had recruited and trained more people. These same conclusions were made in my own analysis, written in August 2010, which was sent to Ms McCall together with a covering letter wishing her every success in her efforts to improve the situation.

The report of the interview with Ms McCall made no mention of one of my conclusions, which was that easyJet had gone too far in trying to reduce turnaround times at airports, i.e. have the aircraft actually flying more hours per day. However, this point was specifically mentioned in an interview with the director for Northern Europe, Thomas Haagensen, which appeared in the paper "Le Matin" that same Saturday. He specifically said that since August 2010 the flights are more spaced out, thus reducing the possibility of a chain reaction if one flight was slightly late.

What I find regrettable is that neither mentioned the obvious fact that the Swiss branch of easyJet, which runs its own operation with its own aircraft registered in Switzerland (18 aircraft, of which 12 are based in Geneva and 6 in Basel), has no spare aircraft. This means that when things go slightly wrong and one of these 18 aircraft becomes unavailable for hours or days, there is a somewhat ad hoc scramble to find an available UK-registered aircraft. This (a Swiss aircraft unavailable all day on Friday 26 August) was the root cause of the reported incident where several people missed a flight from Malaga to Geneva because, after an initial announcement that the flight would be delayed for some hours, a Madrid-based aircraft was flown specially to Malaga, from where it made the round trip to and from Geneva.

The report of this incident omitted to say that the flight from Geneva to Malaga, due to have left Geneva at 6h10 but operated with this Madrid-based aircraft, left many hours late, as did other flights that day from Geneva, in particular to London Gatwick and to Berlin (both seem to be prime candidates for delays in such circumstances!). The Berlin flight, which took off only at 11h37 pm, would not have been particularly appreciated by people living in Vernier, and the pilot added insult to injury by making a very quick 180° right turn over Satigny, Prévessin, St Genis and Ferney Voltaire: a trajectory against which the French authorities around Ferney are fighting.

It is certainly true that easyJet punctuality has greatly improved in 2011, but there have nonetheless been far too many easyJet flights arriving at or departing from Geneva nearer to midnight than to 10pm.


16:02 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: easyjet, geneva, airport, mccall, haagensen | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook


evgen: please elaborate!

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 09/14/2011

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