The parent company of northern budget airline Jet2.com and Jet2holidays today reported a 38% rise in half year profits to £38.7 million.
Dart Group said that its full year results are anticipated to be ahead of market expectations, despite increased losses forecast in the second half due to business growth.
The company’s half year to September 30 saw load factors at the airline rise to 87.5% from 81.3% in the same period last year, with an improved yield per passenger as 2.4 million scheduled passengers were flown, up by 200,000 year-on-year.
Aviation revenues rose by 25% to £270 million, helped by continued growth of Jet2holidays. The sales growth was achieved despite the disruption to Jet2.com’s flying programme caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud which led to more than 400 flights being cancelled.
This cost the company £3 million in refunds, compensation, repatriation of passengers and lost revenues. The total number of routes served from all bases rose from 94 last summer to 117. Jet2holidays saw summer carryings rise by 51% to more than 71,000 people on package holidays.
“We intend that Jet2holidays will grow through providing our leisure customers with great holidays from their local airports, flying with Jet2.com,” the company said.
The charter operation operated 369 flights in the six months to September 30, up from 315 in the same period last year and forward bookings for the winter are described as “encouraging”.
The company said: “We were able to increase load factors in summer 2010 through a combination of increased customer demand, the introduction of further enhancements to our yield management systems, additional sales of allocations to third party tour operators, the growth of Jet2holidays, and by focusing on flying popular leisure routes at departure times convenient to our customers.”
Scheduled ticket yields increased 8% year-on-year, partly as a result of a change in mix towards longer haul destinations.
A 26% increase in scheduled capacity is planned for next summer with new destinations including Bodrum, Dordogne Valley (Brive) and Hurghada in Egypt together with the opening of an eighth UK base in Glasgow.
The airline’s overall seat capacity is up by 29% for the coming winter, driven by new services from East Midlands, the introduction of services supported by tour operators including to Hurghada, and increased flying to Salzburg and Geneva, according to the company.
Dart operates 34 aircraft, with 30-21 Boeing 737-300s and nine B757-200s – owned by the group.