EasyJet to connect with other airlines’ long-haul flights

EasyJet passengers will be able to buy other airlines’ flights via the low-cost carrier’s website. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2017
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EasyJet to connect with other airlines’ long-haul flights

LONDON: British budget airline easyJet launched a new booking platform on Wednesday to allow customers to more easily connect onto long-haul flights with other airlines, moving ahead of its rivals in a potentially lucrative market.
Both easyJet and Ryanair have for some time been looking at so-called feeder flights to attract more customers, and have often said traditional carriers should use low cost rivals to bring passengers to their hubs.
The move is an attempt to muscle into the market for connections at international hub airports currently dominated by the big global airline alliances — Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
EasyJet passengers will be able to buy other airlines’ flights on easyJet.com and will also initially be able to connect onto long-haul flights provided by Norwegian Air Shuttle and WestJet at London Gatwick using the airport’s Gatwick Connect scheme.
Peter Duffy, chief commercial officer at easyJet, said 70 million passengers currently begin journeys at easyJet airports, and make a stop before traveling across continents, and that easyJet wanted a slice of that market.
“This will open up lots of new competition for long-haul travel and will drive prices down,” Duffy told reporters.
In January, Ryanair said it hoped to start offering connections to long-haul flights from Norwegian and Aer Lingus from May, but later said that would more likely be from September. It said technical issues were causing delays.
The move also increases pressure on British Airways (BA) at Gatwick, where BA lacks the short-haul feed for its intercontinental routes, RBC analyst Damian Brewer said.
EasyJet also said it was in talks with carriers in the Middle East and Asia about joining the scheme, which would expand into other airports in Europe.


Uber taps into Japan with first taxi-hailing pilot

Updated 22 May 2018
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Uber taps into Japan with first taxi-hailing pilot

TOKYO: Uber announced Tuesday it would start its first taxi-hailing pilot program in Japan this summer, as it bids to break into a tough market in the world’s third largest economy.
The US firm has found it difficult to penetrate the Japanese market, where risk averse passengers prefer to stick to their high quality traditional taxi service.
Hailing a taxi rarely takes more than a few seconds in major Japanese cities and there has been a relatively sluggish uptake of services like Uber, where consumers order an unlicensed car via a smartphone app.
But Uber said in a statement Tuesday it would launch a pilot program this summer to hook up tourists and residents in the western Awaji island with available taxi drivers.
Uber said it aimed to provide local residents and tourists with “reliable and safe transportation” on the small island, which is home to just over 150,000 people.
“I’m very excited that Uber’s technology will contribute to further enhancing the transit environment of Awaji Island,” Brooks Entwistle, Uber’s Chief Business Officer, said in the statement, adding it will be “the first initiative of its kind in Japan.”
Uber is far from alone in targeting the Japanese taxi market, with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and Japanese telecom firm SoftBank announcing a deal in early February to develop a taxi app in Japan.
SoftBank has heavily invested in the taxi market and recently took a 15 percent stake in Uber.
And Sony has said it is planning a joint venture to offer artificial intelligence technology to six taxi operators, which currently own a total of 10,000 vehicles in Tokyo.
The technology would use AI to predict demand for taxis and allow companies to more efficiently mobilize their resources.
Carmaker Toyota has also announced an investment of ¥7.5 billion in the JapanTaxi app, which says it is the biggest taxi-hailing app in Japan.