EasyJet in VisitBritain deal

BUDGET airline easyJet has launched an £18m licensing deal with VisitBritain to promote tourism into the UK over the Royal Wedding, the 2012 London Olympics and beyond.

The four-year deal will see the government pay the airline £9m to bring in foreign passengers to the UK. EasyJet will provide the rest of the funding in cash or by marketing.

The agreement is the second marketing deal Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall has cut since she ended the airline’s long-running dispute over the use of the “easy” brand name with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou last October. The first was a deal to join Sainsbury’s Nectar card points programme last month.

Speaking in Amman, where she was on the airline’s first flight to Jordan, McCall said: “We now have complete freedom to talk to anyone we want to about branding, where we feel our customer profiles match. We hope to cut another two or three deals like this before the end of the year.”

McCall said she is looking at deals across Europe to raise revenues with retailers, mobile phone operators or other travel brands.

She said: “These present opportunities where we can both make use of our databases to reach customers. And in terms of travel operators, we can bring people to great events.”

Under the terms of the 50-year deal reached with the Haji-Ioannou family, which owns 38 per cent of EasyJet, the airline will pay Stelios an annual royalty of 0.25 per cent of revenues.