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easyJet eyes more tie-ups with airlines after SIA deal

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Mr Lundgren says the business model of allowing connections with long-haul carrier flights is "risk-free".

London

EASYJET chief executive officer Johan Lundgren is in talks for further deals allowing passengers to connect with flights operated by long-haul carriers, following an accord with Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Europe's second-biggest discount carrier aims to seal more tie-ups before the year's end, he said in an interview in London.

Potential allies include more Asian operators as well as airlines from other global regions, he said on Thursday.

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Discount airlines are embracing flight connections to add destinations and boost sales after previously discouraging transfers as too costly and complex.

The "Worldwide by EasyJet" offer, which was launched last year with Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and Canada's WestJet, is available only where there is typically a minimum 2-1/2 hour time gap. Flights won't be held if a passenger's first plane is late.

Mr Lundgren spoke after announcing a partnership that will allow customers to connect to SIA's long-haul flights at Milan Malpensa airport, and to services operated by the Asian giant's Scoot discount arm at Berlin's Tegel airport. The deal takes the number of partners in Worldwide to 10.

"It's an exciting prospect," said Mr Lundgren, who said the tie-up with Singapore has taken the project to a new level by bringing in the first full-service carrier.

The business model is "risk free", he told Bloomberg Television, delivering the benefits of seamless travel without EasyJet having to join a global alliance.

EasyJet, based in Luton in England, has established Milan as a focus for the operation, with the existing Norwegian deal linking with services to Los Angeles and Italian operator Neos serving the Caribbean, East Africa, Indian Ocean destinations and East Asia.

Passengers still need to collect their own luggage off the baggage carousel and hand the bags in for transfer.

Discount rival Ryanair Holdings has similar accords with Norwegian, IAG SA's Aer Lingus and Spain's Air Europa, but is still rolling out the service. BLOOMBERG