EasyJet has struggled with flight cancellations and delays as the demand for air travel ramped up. In June, the carrier cancelled 1700 flights. | © SkyNews

Last month, easyJet firmed up an order for 74 new planes with European plane maker airbus, fulfilling options from a 2013 contract. The airline will buy 56 Airbus A320neo aircraft and convert a former order to 18 new A321neo aircraft. In this article, we’ll explore what this means for the easyJet, as they compete with new European rival Wizz Air.

easyJet’s Rivals

easyJet has found a new rival in recent years, following the rise of Hungarian LLC Wizz air. Describing itself as Europe’s fastest-growing airline, Wizz air’s rapid growth has started to pose a significant threat to the British budget airline. The new carrier has even disrupted the UK market by operating flights from London’s Luton and Gatwick airports, easyJet’s home bases.

wizz air © Guilherme Martinez
Wizz Air are fast expanding | © Guilherme Martinez

Both airlines operate under the low-cost airline model, which means cutting running costs as much as possible in order to maximise profits. Unlike full-service carriers, who make their money from individual passengers by offering premium seating options, low-cost carriers make their money through quantity, not quality. Profits are highest when the airline manages to fill its seats. This is why aircraft choice is so important.

A321 vs A320

Wizz’s decision to mainly fly A321s instead of A320s is part of what gives them an edge over their rival. Whilst the regular A320 can hold 180 passengers in an all-economy arrangement, whereas the A321 can hold up to 240 passengers when using Wizz’s high-density seating layout. This means the airline can make higher profits on each flight.

easyjet wizzair The difference between the A320 and A321
The difference between the A320 and A321 | © Egyptair

Data from ch-aviation shows that easyJet operates a fleet consisting of:

56 A319 aircraft,

93 A320 aircraft,

10 A321 aircraft

Whereas Wizz Air operates a fleet consisting of:

52 A320 Aircraft

74 A321 aircraft

easyJet’s decision to convert some of their order to A321s will help them exact more profit on routes with higher demand and better compete with Wizz Air. But aircraft size isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to cutting costs.

Newer aircraft

Another advantage that Wizz Air has over easyJet is that they operate a younger, more modern fleet of aircraft. A large portion of Wizz’s fleet is Airbus’s ‘neo’ aircraft, which stands for ‘new engine model’.

The newer aircraft boasts a 20% reduction in fuel burn compared to the older aircraft, saving the airline money on flying. Furthermore, Airbus has added other innovations, such as sharklets on the wings, which improve efficiency. In buying newer planes, easyJet will be saving themselves money in the long run.

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