Jet2.com and Jet2holidays boss Steve Heapy has sought to quash rumours linking the operator with a move for Thomas Cook’s airline or retail business.
Heapy, responding to comments made by agent Miles Morgan on the speculation around Cook’s future and how Jet2 could capitalise on the historic operator’s troubles, said Jet2 had “no interest” in either Cook division.
The operator’s largest stakeholder Fosun, meanwhile, has grown its share in Cook to 18% and is believed to be interested in taking a larger share, while Cook has confirmed it has received a “highly preliminary and unsolicited” bid from investment firm Triton for its Northern Europe operation.
Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser told TTG in Palma last month the operator’s review of its retail network was ongoing, and would focus primarily on end-of-lease stores. He added Cook was still committed to independent agents, despite the operator no longer offering independents price parity.
Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said the operator was dedicated to further developing its “fantastic relationships” with independent travel agents, adding they were an “integral part” of the company’s long-term distribution strategy.
“Our whole approach to working with these agents is based on a partnership model, so we can support them to increase sales and grow their businesses,” said Heapy.
“We are absolutely committed to this partnership approach, which is why we have no plans or need to purchase any existing Thomas Cook shops or open our own retail shops in the high street.
“Let me make this clear, our focus is on continuing to foster close working relationships with independent travel agents. This includes supporting agents through a range of initiatives such as joint marketing activity, taking agents out into their communities, sponsoring industry events, delivering our Earn Your Wings training programme, running fam trips, and hosting our annual travel agent conference.”