Craig Davidson is to join Jet2holidays as general manager of its restructured trade sales team as it expands operations to Birmingham and Stansted airports.
Davidson, who starts in the role on October 3, was formerly director of sales for the Holiday Malta Company, which includes tour operating brand Belleair Holidays, since 2014.
He will report into Alan Cross, head of trade for Jet2holidays, who said: “I have known Craig for years and he has the experience and personality to suit the trade team.”
Jet2holidays has also recruited Zoe Gdnicik as a new sales executive dedicated to the Stansted region and Chris Redfern as a sales executive dedicated to the Birmingham region as it looks to drum up trade sales in the areas.
The package holiday specialist, with sister low cost airline Jet2.com, is launching 21 routes out of Stansted airport and 15 destinations out of Birmingham airport, both for next summer’s season.
Cross said the new team was necessary following the company’s decision to expand south. “There is no point opening new bases if you haven’t got the sales support behind it,” he added.
As well as managing an office based sales support team and eight road based sales executives, Davidson will help to manage the trade sales team’s strategy, marketing and web development.
The team plan to “blitz” the Stansted region in the next three weeks to increase awareness of the brand, what it stands for and its history of working with the trade to develop trade relationships ahead of the new flight routes.
“We will be out and about wearing branded attire to raise awareness of who we are and why to book us. It’s a reassurance process. We will be giving out details about which destinations we are going to and when, and making sure agents know how to log on,” he said.
Trade bookings account for a third of all business for the operator. But Cross admitted the growth in capacity could mean it takes six months to a year to achieve the 30% figure.
“Trade was a third of our business when we had 36,000 passengers eight years ago and is still a third now we have 1.5 million passengers a year. I have no reason to believe it will not be a third ultimately, but it will be a slower process to get there,” he said.
Flights from Stansted went on sale today. The airline has put 21 destinations on sale and will be the only carrier to fly to Madeira from the Essex airport – a major hub for Ryanair – with two flights a week.
The network from Stansted, the group’s ninth UK base, covers Lanzarote, Malaga, Alicante, Dubrovnik, Faro, Madeira, Fuerteventura, Girona, Crete (Heraklion), Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Gran Canaria, Menorca, Paphos, Majorca, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife and Zante with as many as 83 flights a week scheduled.
The airline is to base six new Boeing 737-800s at Stansted giving a capacity of 800,000 seats from March 30, 2017. An initial 50,000 seats have been released at £30 one-way to mark the introduction of the new flights. The first services from Stansted will be to Alicante, Faro, Majorca and Lanzarote.