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easyJet set to announce major Scottish expansion


A boost for Scottish air travellers is expected to be announced today, with a significant expansion in Scotland by easyJet. The low-cost airline is said to have struck a deal with BAA, the owner of Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, after years of expanding in northern England rather than Scotland. Several new routes from Glasgow are due to be unveiled as the first stage of the expansion.

easyJet previously developed international routes from airports such as Newcastle, claiming that BAA's charges were too high. The airline operates 13 European routes from Newcastle Airport compared with only two from Edinburgh and Glasgow - Amsterdam and Geneva. It is due to withdraw the Glasgow Airport - Amsterdam route next month.

But it is understood the breakthrough followed the appointment of new chiefs at both easyJet and BAA Scotland. Stephen Baxter, the new managing director of BAA Scotland, is believed to have worked 'doggedly' to secure a deal with Andrew Harrison, who became chief executive of easyJet in December.

John Strickland, an air transport consultant, pointed out that airport charges could amount to 30% of no-frills airlines' costs. He added that there was 'huge potential' for Edinburgh and Glasgow airports should easyJet choose to expand there, since there were large numbers of new aircraft on order that would double the airline's size.

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