Sun seekers have a new option for the coming winter, as easyJet launches the first nonstop scheduled link from the UK to Aqaba in Jordan.
The maiden flight from Gatwick to the resort takes off on 10 November. The once-a-week link will also provide access to the ancient city of Petra and the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum.
Jordan’s minister of tourism and antiquities, Lina Annab, said: “This collaboration will contribute towards increasing the number of tourists to Jordan’s ‘Golden Triangle’ – Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum – and we’re working together to increase the number of routes into Aqaba with easyJet over the next few years.”
The airline is hoping the link to Aqaba will prove more successful than flights to the Jordanian capital, Amman. That route was closed in 2014 due to heavy losses.
In a bid to secure some of the “Santa Claus” market, easyJet is also launching two flights a week from Gatwick to Rovaneimi in Finnish Lapland on 31 October.
The city straddles the Arctic Circle and has established itself as favourite Yuletide destination for British families. “Santa Park”, a collection of man-made caverns filled with festive attractions, is located in Rovaniemi’s municipal bomb shelter.
The city is also home to the Arktikum Museum, dedicated to the story of Lapland.
With dwindling options for new destinations in Europe, easyJet is also launching links in competition against rival budget carriers.
The four-times-a-week link will be the only flight from the Sussex airport to the Polish capital, but is in competition against frequent departures on Wizz Air from Luton, and British Airways and LOT from Heathrow.
In France, where easyJet is in second place to Air France, the budget airline is stepping up competition with the French national carrier. It is launching a link from Paris to Pau in the Pyrenees, previously an Air France monopoly.