First flight arrived at LJLA from Amsterdam on October 27, 1997, and today the airline carries more than 2.3m people a year to and from Liverpool on 28 European routes. Tony McDonough reports
It was 20 years ago today when the first easyJet plane landed at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA), arriving from Amsterdam.
Barbie Girl by Aqua was number one in the charts and OJ Simpson was just getting used to life behind bars.
In the two decades since the low cost carrier has carried 39m passengers in and out of Liverpool on over 300,000 flights.
Along with rival Ryanair, easyJet challenged the monopoly and high prices of the established airlines and offered affordable European travel for millions of people.
Today, easyJet operates 28 routes from LJLA carrying more than 2.3m passengers a year. In the last few weeks it has announced it will base an eighth aircraft at Liverpool from next summer offering the potential for more routes.
Liverpool continues to be a key base for easyJet in connecting the North West and the airline employs 375 pilots and crew at the airport.
Ali Gayward, UK country manager for the airline, said: “20 years ago easyJet changed the way Europe travelled.
“We challenged the high price monopolies of the legacy airlines and enabled a new generation of people of all ages, incomes and interests to enjoy Europe.
“We started with fares from Liverpool from £29 – or as we advertised at the time, the same price as a pair of jeans. A pair of Levis 501s will now set your back £75 while our fares to and from Liverpool start from £23.49.
“I have to thank our fantastic customers who travel to and from Liverpool for their loyalty and support.”
Paul Winfield, air service development director for LJLA, said: “EasyJet has been instrumental in taking Liverpool from being an airport with just under 700,000 annual passengers when they first arrived in 1997 to 5m passengers today.
“They have helped to give passengers from the Liverpool city region and the wider North West and beyond, the opportunity to be able to choose to fly from a convenient, hassle free airport, offering great customer service with value for money air fares.”