Jet2holidays overtakes Tui as UK’s largest operator

Jet2holidays has overtaken Tui to become the UK’s largest tour operator.

Latest Atol data published by the Civil Aviation Authority shows that Jet2holidays has increased its licence for 2023 by over 500,000 and is now licensed to carry 5.8 million passengers, over half a million more than Tui, which has a licence for 5.3 million.

Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy thanked independent travel agents for the “integral role” they have played in the operator’s success and growth – and vowed to repay their faith by “focusing resolutely on our partnership approach”.

And he stressed that taking the number one spot in the UK would never result in lower quality or reduced customer service.

“We are very proud of this achievement but I’m actually not interested in being the biggest; only in being the best,” said Heapy.

“But we are now the biggest because we are the best and that won’t change. We will never sacrifice our customer proposition for growth.”

He continued: “Becoming the UK’s largest tour operator is a significant milestone in the history of Jet2holidays, but it will not change a single thing that we do. Our continued success is because we have the best team in the industry who work tirelessly to look after our customers and independent travel agency partners, and we will never lose sight of that fundamental principle. 

“The loyalty of those independent travel agency partners has been absolutely integral to our growth and success, so on behalf of everyone at Jet2holidays, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to every single one of them for their continued support and helping us get to this position today. I can promise we will repay that faith by continuing to focus resolutely on our partnership approach to working with independent travel agents and delivering the VIP customer service that has seen us enjoy this success.”

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Heapy said he felt confident to increase his Atol licence for 2023 based on demand from existing and new customers switching to Jet2holidays.

“We make a projection based on current sales, and the demand we have been seeing has been very strong,” he said.

“The feedback we’re hearing from our travel agent partners and our customers is that hordes of disillusioned holidaymakers are coming to Jet2holidays now to book, off the back of our refund record during the pandemic, and our record for not cancelling flights during the restart. Both were exemplary.”

In response to this demand, Jet2holidays has its biggest ever summer programme on sale this year, with over 15 million seats available to more than 65 sun and leisure city destinations, having added capacity to a number of destinations in recent weeks.

Looking to the future, Heapy said: “There is lots for ourselves, our agents partners, and our customers to be excited about. We have an order for up to 146 brand new Airbus aircraft in place which will help to take even more happy customers away on a package holiday they can trust from the UK’s leading tour operator. Jet2holidays truly is the home of real package holidays.”

Heapy continued: “We’re very excited about the future. We’re a growing confident company and whilst we have grown the size of our operation over the last 13 years, we have never sacrificed our principles – which is to provide quality holidays and customer service – and they remain the centrepiece of our strategy.” 

The Atol announcement is a major milestone for Jet2holidays, which launched in 2007 with a licence to carry just 23,000 passengers to 15 destinations.

It also comes in the same week that sister airline,, celebrates exactly 20 years since its first ever flight from Leeds Bradford airport to Amsterdam in 2003.

That first summer saw two aircraft serving eight destinations from the Yorkshire airport. is now ranked as the UK’s third largest airline with a fleet of 115 aircraft this summer. 

The top 10 ATOL licence holders can be found here: 

MoreJet2 and Jet2holidays add early summer seats to Spanish islands

Jet2 to award all employees 9% pay rise in April

Jet2 upgrades annual profit forecast as bookings and prices rise

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