EasyJet buys GB Airways

EasyJet is buying British Airways (BA) franchise partner GB Airways from the Bland Group for £103.5m. The acquisition will include the airline’s slots at Gatwick Airport but not Heathrow.

Budget carrier easyJet says the move is part of its expansion strategy and strengthens its offering at Gatwick. The purchase will give it more landing slots at the airport and the chance to develop its routes more quickly.

The carrier will continue to operate GB’s services under the BA brand until March when operations will come under the easyJet brand.

GB Airways operates 39 routes, 28 from Gatwick, six from Manchester and five from Heathrow.

EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison says the deal will allow the airline to capitalise on the potential of Gatwick through a large number of slots. The carrier will control 24% of the slots at the airport when the deal is completed.

GB Airways reported a £2.6m profit before tax for the year ending March 2007.

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