STRONG demand for affordable package holidays boosted passenger numbers at Jet2holidays, which reported a 93 per cent leap in customers to 417,390 in the year to March 31.
The firm said that current booking rates indicate that it will double the number of passengers in the current financial year.
The company, which operates scheduled flights to 51 Mediterranean, Canary Islands and leisure city destinations from its home base at Leeds Bradford International Airport, also flies from seven other Northern cities.
The group said it made good progress in both its leisure airline, Jet2.com, and its package holidays business, Jet2holidays, which is now the third largest tour operator in the UK.
The two businesses, part of Dart Group, said much of the growth is due to the development of the Jet2holidays hotel product range and a fully integrated approach with Jet2.com.
Dart’s group chief financial officer Gary Brown said: “Our customers continue to demand great value but are not willing to reduce quality.
“The Jet2holidays product range has been expanded with over 45 per cent of customers staying at 4 star or greater, supported by the early success of our ‘Indulgent Escapes’ brand, which has driven further revenue growth in the year.”
He said that despite the challenging economic environment and highly competitive market place, gross margins per holiday have been maintained through careful management.
“The increasing scale of the business has enabled us to improve both operating margins and profitability, with profit before tax increasing to £6.8m.”
Jet2holidays are sold over the internet from group’s call centre, as well as through high street and online travel agents.
Dart said that website visits are significantly higher than last year and conversion rates are improving. Jet2holidays doubled the size of its call centre during the year.
Further growth in customer numbers is expected.
“Jet2holidays is benefiting from its family-focused approach, including free child places at hundreds of hotels,” said Mr Brown.