Photo © Jim Woodrow
She's beautiful because she's so simple.
This American stands in admiration of one of today's most awesome entrepreneurs. Is it wrong? Some of you may not know, but EasyJet's continued success stands as testament to its successful adaptation of Southwest's business model. It has also changed Southwest's business model to make itself distinct, much as jetBlue has done, and continues to do.
If you haven't heard of Stelios, you'll hear about him eventually. Even though this 30-something maverick was highly funded by his shipping-magnate father, he hasn't squandered daddy's money.
He's used his money in a very humble and innovative sense. He built EasyJet from $7 million. This is an airline that today has 19 737-300s and 7 737-700s in its fleet. This is an airline that runs almost paperless, and that's perhaps the most brilliant way of cutting costs.
Whereas Southwest relies heavily on paper (does not subscribe to a major CRS, rapid rewards is largely non-electronic, takes drink orders on paper, for instance), EasyJet scans every document that comes into its office, then shreds it. 90% of EasyJet's customer's book online, leading it to rightly proclaim itself as "the web's favourite airline" (great jab at BA). This eliminates the infrastructure required to maintain and expand call centers, as well as ticket stock.
EasyJet, like WN, builds its corporate culture around LUV and populist equity. There is no unfair heirarchy within employee ranks. And you thought Herb Kelleher was modest? Despite growing up as a rich boy, Stelios pays for his own travel (no positive space here), cooks at company events, drives a cheap, energy conscious smar car.
Another cool aspect of EasyJet is their in flight service. Like Southwest, they understand their customers would rather have low fares, reliability than high fares and 'plastic airplane food'. Their in-flight "vending machine" (easyKiosk) is such a genius concept.
The best thing about EasyJet is that it really dedicates itself to easy travel. It's mission statement astutely exemplifies he key concept of "keeping it simple"...
To provide our customers with safe, good value, point to point air services. To effect and to offer a consistent and reliable product and fares appealing to leisure and business markets on a range of European routes. To achieve this we will develop our people and establish lasting relationships with our suppliers.
Like it or not, aviation world, airlines like Southwest, jetBlue, and EasyJet are the wave of the future. They are growing, their reputations for simple, affordable, dependable travel are infectious, and they're definitely here to stay.
"I hope to start my own WN some day"