News parent reports increased earnings after strong summer

A strong summer helped and Jet2holidays boost revenue by 36% to more than £1.5 billion in the half year to September.

Parent company Dart Group today reported a 30% hike in half year pre-tax profits to £212.5 million from £163.7 million for the summer period in 2016 following expansion from Birmingham airport and Stansted.

Passenger sectors flown by rose to 7.14 million year-on-year, including a 41% increase in the number of Jet2holidays package holiday customers to 1.81 million.

“However, increased losses are to be expected in the second half of the year as we continue to invest in additional aircraft, advertising and people in readiness for further flying programme expansion at all our operating bases in the summer 2018 season,” executive chairman Philip Meeson said.

“Leisure travel customer volumes were strong during summer 2017 and since the half year end, we have seen a further strengthening of customer demand, particularly for our flight-only product.

“This has resulted in future leisure travel bookings for this financial year performing ahead of expectations.”

As a result, the company is optimistic that market expectations of group profit before foreign exchange revaluation and tax for the year ending March 31, 2018 will be “materially exceeded,” he added.

Meeson said: “Looking further ahead, whether this strength in demand will remain in the medium term is unclear and will depend on the evolving competitive environment.

“Pleasingly, we have been encouraged by the performance of our two new operating bases and are committing additional aircraft to continue our growth at these and at our other bases for summer 2018.

“However, we are seeing the emergence of certain cost pressures as we continue to invest in our airport operations, colleagues and other related areas.

“Nevertheless, and despite the current uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations, we remain confident in the resilience of our leisure travel business.” summer carryings rose by 41% to 7.14 million with the overall load factor in line with last year at 93.2%, including the first season of operation from new operating bases at Stansted and Birmingham airport.

Jet2holidays handled 41% more package holiday customers at 1.81 million while flight-only numbers were up to 3.52 million  passengers against 2.51 million in the same period last year.

The average price of a Jet2holidays package holiday grew by 2% to £645.

But airline ticket yield per passenger sector was 17% lower at £75.95, against the backdrop of a 41% increase in seat capacity.

A total of 57% of the total year-on-year passenger growth of 2.07 million resulted from travel from the new bases, with half taking package holidays.

The fleet was expanded by 11 aircraft to 75 for summer 2017 with commensurate increases in pilots, engineers and cabin crew.

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