Everything we've done has had an impact. There is no other airline in the history of modern passenger aviation that has had such an effect on the UK's flight, holiday and travel industry. Few appreciated just how far we could and would go, back in 1995, when Stelios first had the idea to create a customer focused brand that would revolutionise the concept of stepping on an aircraft. It all started in a small office at Luton Airport - shared with the airport spectators club. Back then we advertised our first flights from Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh "As cheap as a pair of jeans" and with balloons and banners in the terminal and the national press watching, our first flight successfully departed, one cold November morning in 1995...
By April 1996 we were in a position to operate our first wholly owned aircraft, and begin our first European route to Amsterdam. More routes followed that year, including Barcelona and Nice and in late 1997 a new UK base at Liverpool was opened. Those that ever doubted we would be a serious contender were silenced as we continued to grow and then in 1998, something happened that would change our business totally - easyJet.com, our sales website, began to take bookings online.
What is it about us that has been so successful? We think it's our approach to challenging convention and "the ordinary". We live for fun, customer enjoyment and never stop in our mission, no matter what challenges come our way. In 1998 we ordered 15 brand new Boeing next-generation 737-700 aircraft with a list price of half a billion pounds... no small player any more!
To see out the old millennium in style, we opened our doors and our hearts to the public with the very first screening of "Airline" on ITV. This fly-on-the-wall documentary brought the daily lives of our team into living rooms throughout the country. By the year 2000, we really began to become part of the establishment, floating on the London Stock Exchange with an offer price of 310p. Accolades followed with a host of travel awards, a celebration of our 10 millionth seat sold online and some massive route expansion. In 2002 when we merged with low cost airline "Go" who became part of the easyJet portfolio and helped us to grow our fleet and our network significantly. However, it was not all smiles that year. Stelios stood aside as Chairman. Still a shareholder, he recognised that the talent we had been building in the business could really take things to the next level.
By 2005 we were taking delivery of our 100th aircraft. Also Big changes were also happening on the ground with our move two years later into Hangar 89 at London Luton - a magnificent Head Office and engineering base.
And so we arrive at today, where the business can boast over 200 aircraft, 600 routes, operating from 130 airports, 30 countries and 22 bases. Annually we look after over 50 million passengers, oversee the safe arrival of thousands of departures daily - and undoubtedly, as you read this, all these facts will be surpassed! We grow, because of the passion within our people, their commitment, belief and love of what we have come to stand for. If you want to be a part of it all, this is just a flavour of what it means to belong to easyJet. Experience it for yourself - there really is no career like it.