The “considerable” costs of opening new Jet2 bases at Birmingham and Stansted airports hit annual profits at owner Dart Group.

The company also described uncertainty over the UK’s Brexit negotiations as being “unsettling”.

Pre-tax profits for the year to March 31 fell by 14% to £90.1 million over the previous 12 months.

The increased losses included a £10.9 million charge for foreign exchange revaluation losses against £1.3 million a year earlier.

Overall revenue was up by 23% to £1.7 billion as strong demand for holidays and resilient ticket pricing for the summer 2016 season “gave way to heavier price discounting in the second half of the year to achieve the planned growth in customer volumes,” the company disclosed.

Chairman Philip Meeson said: “Given visibility on current forward bookings and the recent successful launch of our new operating bases at Birmingham and London Stansted airports, the board expects to meet current market expectations of underlying profit before taxation for the year ending 31 March 2018.

“Looking further ahead, there remains considerable uncertainty around Brexit negotiations and the effect these could have, both on our freedom to fly and on our customers’ ability to travel to our leisure destinations.

“This is unsettling; however, we believe that the UK government recognises the importance of aviation services, and similarly, European countries appreciate the value that British tourists bring to their respective economies.

“Therefore, for the long-term, we remain confident in the resilience of our leisure travel business and we are encouraged by the increasing proportion of customers choosing our great value, real package holidays, which are not easily replicated by non-specialists, and have proven particularly popular in challenging economic times.”

He revealed that more than 41% of the Jet2holidays’ packages were sold on an all-inclusive basis.

“This is a resilient, great value offering for families on a tight budget and is particularly attractive for times of economic uncertainty,” he said.

Meeson added: “In summer 2017, over 450 customer helpers will be employed in our holiday resorts to look after our customers, backed up by 24-hour helplines to give practical assistance in all eventualities.

“Together with our airport-to-hotel transfer services, everything is organised to make our customers’ holidays easy and carefree.

“Our resort flight check-in service, introduced at many hotels in summer 2016, has proven to be extremely popular and has been expanded to over 150 hotels for summer 2017.

“This service allows Jet2holidays customers to check-in their baggage for their return flight at their hotel, letting them enjoy their final day, bag and hassle free.

“Having built a strong brand and reputation in the north of the UK for providing ‘package holidays you can trust’, we are committed to achieving the same reputation for providing wonderful holidays from our new bases at Birmingham and London Stansted airports.

“Sustained levels of investment in product, brand and customer service excellence, plus the delivery of an attractive end-to-end product, which has proved its resilience over a number of years, gives us the greatest opportunity to retain and attract customers.

“We therefore believe we have a great future in the UK leisure travel marketplace.”

Dart Group also runs distribution business Fowler Welch which contributed £4.5 million in pre-tax profits.


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