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05 Sep 2018

BY Gary Noakes

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Jet2 positioned for major expansion drive ahead of Atol renewal

Jet2 looks poised to widen the gap between itself and Thomas Cook when it renews its Atol later this month after launching a substantial recruitment campaign.

Jet2 Stansted.jpg
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Jet2 positioned for major expansion drive ahead of Atol renewal

The northern operator, currently licensed for just over three million passengers, is seeking more than 3,000 new staff in the UK and Europe ahead of a 12% increase in capacity for summer 2018.

 

This expansion follows the operator’s 2018 growth, spurred by a move south to Stansted and the collapse of Monarch Group.

 

Last October, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays became the UK’s second largest Atol-holder, eclipsing Cook, when it increased its licence from 2.3 million seats to 2.9 million, creating a new "big three".

 

Since then, Jet2 has breached the three million barrier, while Cook’s licensed carryings have remained static at 2.4 million.

 

A Jet2 spokesperson declined to detail the operator’s Atol plans but said more would be revealed soon with the Jet2 brands set to put more than 12 million seats on sale next summer.

 

Growth has seen the share price of Dart Group, Jet2’s parent company, double in the last year, from £5 a share to just under £10 this week.

 

The increase means Dart Group chairman Philip Meeson’s stake of around 37% is now worth £555 million. He recently sold 500,000 of these shares, netting £4.5 million.

 

More than 2,000 of the new jobs will be at the company’s nine UK bases – 1,000 in ground operations, 1,000 cabin crew and 100 additional pilots. The remainder will be overseas roles.

 

A Jet2.com spokesperson said Manchester, Leeds/Bradford and Scotland would see the bulk of recruits, although some roles would be at Stansted.

 

The Essex airport is now Jet2.com’s third biggest base and capacity there has been expanded 18% next summer.

 

'Seven million budget flyers looking for a carrier'

'Seven million budget flyers looking for a carrier'

Analysts though still point to a lack of brand awareness of Jet2 in the south.

 

Research by YouGov revealed the Jet2 brand would only be considered by 3% of consumers in the south east, compared to 17% in Scotland, 19% in the north west and 21% in Yorkshire and Humber.

 

Brand awareness in outer London – including part of Stansted’s eastern catchment area – was only 2% and in inner London, only 1%.

 

“The south east offers a market of seven million budget flyers looking for a carrier,” said YouGov in its 2018 Airlines Report. “Jet2 already performs better on most metrics than Ryanair so one group it could focus on are customers who may want to move away from the Irish carrier."

 

Steve Heapy, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief executive, said: “This is our biggest ever recruitment drive and once again demonstrates our commitment to investing in our customers and in people’s careers.”

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