Jet2 operating at 55% of pre-Covid capacity

The chairman of Leeds-based Jet2 plc said on Thursday the travel firm is operating at 55% of its pre-Covid summer 2019 capacity — but that the company has “generated positive financial contribution from the flying to date.”

As at August 30, Jet2’s “Own Cash” balance — excluding customer deposits — was £1.52 billion.

On Tuesday, Jet2 plc said it entered into an agreement with Airbus to buy 36 new Airbus A321 aircraft worth about $4.9 billion and also agreed flexibility to extend the order up to 60 aircraft for approximately $8.1 billion.

Executive chairman Philip Meeson told the Jet2 AGM on Thursday: “Following the UK Government’s decision to allow quarantine-free travel to amber list destinations for the fully vaccinated from 19 July, and Jet2holidays have been flying to 32 green and amber destinations, with a programme representing approximately 55% of our pre-Covid Summer 19 capacity.

“In addition, we were also delighted to successfully commence operations from our new Bristol base.

“Unsurprisingly, given the continuing short-term uncertainty resulting from the UK Government’s three weekly review of its traffic light system, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for Summer 21.

“Despite the limited booking visibility, pleasingly, we have generated positive financial contribution from the flying to date, supported by our quick to market, flexible operating model.

“The slower momentum for Winter 21/22 bookings which we reported in our Preliminary Results in early July has remained.

“As a result, bookings have yet to match our on-sale seat capacity and therefore pricing for both our leisure travel products – end-to-end package holidays with Jet2holidays and flight-only seats with – will need to remain consistently enticing.

“The overall Winter 21/22 capacity remains under continuous review.

“For Summer 22, we plan to fly to all our popular leisure destinations.

“Bookings to date are encouraging, with average load factors at the same point ahead of Summer 19 and package holiday customer numbers as a proportion of total departing customers showing a material increase.

“Therefore, we remain optimistic that Summer 22 will be a considerable improvement on both Summer 20 and Summer 21.

“On 31 August we were pleased to announce our new aircraft order with Airbus for up to 60 A321 neo aircraft.

“In our opinion, the Airbus A321 neo is the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in its class today.

“We believe opportunities for financially strong, resilient and trusted operators will only increase as travel restrictions are lifted.

“As at 30 August, our ‘Own Cash’ balance (excluding customer deposits) was £1.52bn (4 July 2021: £1.46bn), an increase of £0.46bn on 31 March 2021 (£1.06bn).

“We are confident that once normality returns, our customers will be determined to enjoy the wonderful experience of a well-deserved Jet2 holiday and that and Jet2holidays will continue to have a thriving future, taking millions of UK holidaymakers annually, to the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and to European Leisure Cities.”