EasyJet Airline Company Limited (styled as easyJet) is a British airline headquartered at London Luton Airport. It carries more passengers than any other United Kingdom-based airline, operating domestic and international scheduled services on 500 routes between 118 European, North African, and West Asian airports. The parent company, EasyJet plc, is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: EZJ) and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. As at 30 September 2009, it employed 8,000 people, based throughout Europe but mainly in the UK.
EasyJet has seen rapid expansion since its establishment in 1995, having grown through a combination of acquisitions and base openings fuelled by consumer demand for low-cost air travel. The airline, along with franchise airline EasyJet Switzerland, now operates over 180 aircraft, mostly Airbus A319. It has 20 bases across Europe, the most important one being London-Gatwick. In 2009, EasyJet carried 45.2 million passengers and is the second-largest low-cost carrier in Europe, behind Ryanair.
The airline was established in 1995. It was launched by Greek-Cypriot businessman Stelios Haji-Ioannou with two wet leased Boeing 737-200 aircraft, initially operating two routes: London Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh. In April 1996, the first wholly-owned aircraft was delivered to Easyjet, enabling its first international route, to Amsterdam. Until October 1997, the aircraft were operated by GB Airways, and subsequently by Air Foyle as EasyJet had not yet received its Air Operator's Certificate.