Jet2 buoyed as summer’s passenger numbers take off

FLYING HIGH: 2012 brought a strong summer for Jet2.

FLYING HIGH: 2012 brought a strong summer for Jet2.

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More passengers went on holiday with budget airline Jet2 to escape Britain’s summer washout, helping its owner, Dart Group, to an expectation-busting first-half performance.

The group, based at Leeds Bradford Airport, said both its holidays business Jet2holidays and its leisure airline increased passengers substantially in the six months to the end of September.

Dart said the “particularly poor summer weather” – labelled the wettest summer in more than a century by the Met Office – helped to strong trading. It flew 3.6m passengers during the six months, an increase of 14 per cent on last year, with increases in both yields and load factors.

Jet2holidays took 312,000 passengers on holiday during the six months, almost double the 158,000 holiday-makers it carried a year earlier.

“People want to go on holiday and we are providing great value package holidays and we fly to where people go to at the price people want to pay,” said chairman and chief executive Philip Meeson.

“Everyone wants to get out of the rainy North at the moment and into the sunshine.

“Holidays are very important to people and the package holiday is particularly welcome because it gives certainty of spend – we do the flight, transfer, hotel, food and drink.”

The group’s holiday business has grown rapidly since its launch in 2007 and now has 1,200 hotels contracted to it. However, Dart said its leisure travel business is becoming “increasingly seasonal”, as more people opt to holiday abroad in the summer rather than the winter.

Mr Meeson said the winter skiing trip is increasingly becoming “the holiday they do not have to have”.

The group said: “This, coupled with strong summer trading, will result in the group’s profit before taxation for the first half of the year being ahead of the same period in the previous year, with increased losses expected in the second half,” it said.

“Notwithstanding the current economic climate, the board expects to exceed current market expectations for the year ending March 31, 2013.”