Dart Group changes names to Jet2, appoints CEO

Shares of Leeds-based Dart Group, owner of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, rose about 3% on Thursday after it published a positive AGM trading statement and said it will change its name to Jet2 plc.

The company also announced that Stephen Heapy has been appointed chief executive officer of Jet2 plc and Philip Meeson will remain executive chairman. 

Meeson told the AGM: “After grounding our aircraft fleet in mid-March, we were pleased to resume operations on 15 July, gradually ramping up Summer 2020 flying to approximately 40% of our planned destinations for August, ensuring we could provide as many of our customers as possible with their well-deserved and eagerly anticipated summer holidays. 

“Whilst there have been setbacks, such as the imposition of quarantines and evolving guidance from the UK Government, we have been satisfied with the average load factors and financial contribution achieved to date and will continue to add further capacity, as appropriate, for the remainder of Summer 2020, supported by our quick to market, flexible operating model. 

“Winter 20/21 forward bookings have yet to match our revised on-sale seat capacity, with customer bookings displaying a shorter lead time than in previous years. 

“Therefore, pricing for both our leisure travel products – end-to-end package holidays with Jet2holidays and flight-only seats with Jet2.com – will need to remain consistently enticing.

“For Summer 2021, we plan to fly to all our popular leisure destinations with an appropriate, tailored level of service, which we anticipate will be close to Summer 2019 seat capacity levels.

“Bookings to date are encouraging, with average load factors ahead of the same point last year and package holiday customer numbers as a proportion of total departing customers showing a material increase.

“As at 28 August, our total cash balance was £1,064m, with an ‘Own Cash’ balance (excluding customer deposits) of £629m (at 31 March 2020: £1,387m and £520m respectively).

“Additionally, the Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility of up to £300m of funding is currently unutilised.

“We will continue to take every step necessary to preserve cash and enhance liquidity to ensure both Jet2.com and Jet2holidays are equipped to deal with this most challenging of trading environments and also best positioned for a return to full operations in a stable financial position, to the benefit of all stakeholders.

“The board will provide a further trading update on publication of its interim results on 19 November 2020.

“Following the sale of our distribution and logistics business, Fowler Welch, earlier in the year, the company has applied to Companies House to change its name to Jet2 plc reflecting the continued focus on its longer-term strategy of growing its leisure travel business.

“We are delighted to announce that Stephen Heapy is appointed chief executive officer of Jet2 plc.

“Philip Meeson will remain executive chairman …”