EasyJet Holidays was reported to be planning to bring forward its trade launch date to around February or March.
The launch was earlier than previously announced, with the collapse of Thomas Cook named as a motivating factor.
Mark Brumby, analyst, Langton Capital, said: “EasyJet Holidays’ move to bring capacity to the market more rapidly than previously planned may be 1) good business or 2) a sign that it believes the opportunity to grab market share could be fleeting or 3) both of the above.”
Last month saw easyJet Holidays launched to the public, with Garry Wilson, CEO, easyJet Holidays, commenting: “EasyJet has been a pioneer in transforming travel for almost 25 years and we want to bring that to the holidays sector.
“We know the way people travel is continuously evolving; we know customers want flexibility on when and how they holiday; we know customers want flexibility on when and how they holiday; we know they want to be able to easily pick a hotel to suit their needs and we know they want a hassle-free booking process. We’re really excited to help meet these needs with the launch of our new modern and relevant holidays business.”
Writing in The Telegraph, Johan Lundgren, EasyJet CEO, said: “Following the sad demise of Thomas Cook, many people have told me this seems like a pretty bad time to enter this difficult market.
“Many are also saying that the package holiday is now an outdated concept which has no place in the lives of modern consumers. It is probably true to say the package holiday in its traditional sense of a fixed seven or 14 day holiday booked through a high street travel agency, met by a rep with a clipboard, is on its way out.
“But the fact is, sales of holiday packages have grown faster than the economy every year for the past 10 years. It is the way that customers are taking holidays that is changing and the industry needs to change to accommodate this. Customer needs are different now. We know people are more adventurous and want to go to a wider range of destinations, they want more flexibility and they want to be offered a bespoke holiday from a company that understands their requirements.
The move was EasyJet’s second run at the packaged holiday sector. In 2017 Dame Carolyn McCall, then-EasyJet CEO, announced plans to target the market, saying: “It’s important, but it’s never been up there. To make it successful it has to be someone’s real top priority. We are going through a process to see how we are going to do that.”
EasyJet Holidays’ accommodation was at that pointed fulfilled by Hotelopia, a division of bed bank Hotelbeds, a contract which has since lapsed. The company was going up against Ryanair, which announced plans to become the “Amazon of travel” in 2017. It closed Ryanair Holidays last year.