Jet2holidays ramps up Turkey capacity for 2018

Jet2holidays has released its programmes for summer 2018, which include 30% more capacity into Turkey and slightly higher prices.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Turkey sold really well this year. It’s great value and was in much demand, so we’re putting more on for next year. With Turkey, it very much depends if it’s in the news, but then it always returns.”

Heapy said he did not think the recent laptop ban on flights from Turkey to the UK would have any impact on sales, in contrast to Hays Travel managing director John Hays who believes it will stop the Turkey upturn “dead in its tracks”.

“We’ve not seen any negative impact from the laptop ban. Customers seem to accept it. We’ve had no requests for cancellations,” said Heapy.

He explained capacity to Turkey would still not be quite back to where it was in 2016. “We cut capacity to Turkey by about 40% last year, and we will add about 30% back for next summer,” he said.

Heapy said capacity would be increased to Spain and Portugal, and also to Croatia, Malta and Naples, but he added that Jet2holidays would not return to Tunisia or Egypt even if the flying bans to both countries are lifted.

Summer 18 programmes are already on sale for East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester, with programmes from Birmingham, London Stansted, Belfast and Leeds Bradford due to launch over the next few days and weeks.

New for 2018 from Glasgow are exclusive routes to Bodrum, Kefalonia and Halkidiki. From Edinburgh, Jet2holildays is adding four new routes – Antalya and Kos which are exclusive, and also Dalaman and Madeira, and from Newcastle, services to Bodrum and Halkidiki are new and exclusive.

There are also more flights to existing destinations, more frequencies and bigger aircraft, according to Heapy, who ordered 34 new Boeing 737-800s 18 months ago, which each have 189 seats compared to 148 on the 737-300s it has been flying. Fourteen are now in service.

Heapy said to expect to see an “upward movement on price” in 2018. “The exchange rate is against us. We were hedged before so the impact was smaller, but it becomes more apparent as it goes on, so prices will be slightly higher.”

Heapy’s comments came as the airline scooped two accolades in the inaugural TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for airlines, winning best airline in the UK, and best low-cost airline in Europe.

Heapy said: “We’re still a one-class airline and that class is VIP. Every single customer is a VIP – we are a customer service focused organisation and that’s why we keep winning awards.

“What makes these accolades so special is that they are based on the experiences and feedback of customers, and these awards should give independent travel agents the confidence that their customers are in the best hands.”

Jet2holidays will be announcing the venue and dates for its third Independent Travel Agents’ Conference at a launch event in London on June 8.

Jet2holidays operates to 65 sun, city and ski destinations across Europe from nine UK airports.

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