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Low-cost airline Jet2 says solid winter bookings should help it land profit estimate

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ow-cost airline Jet2 reckons it is on course to land its annual profit predictions as its planes are set to be as full this winter as they were prior to the pandemic.

The Leeds-based firm said its load factors – a measure of the number of passengers on its aircraft – for the forthcoming winter season were due to match those of the equivalent 2019/20 period before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Even though household budgets are being squeezed by rising energy bills, executive chairman Philip Meeson said that its package holiday offering was proving appealing to “price conscious customers, especially in challenging economic times”.

He added that package holidays allowed it to broaden its customer base, but repeated a previous warning that its margins could come under some pressure in the short-term as it tries to encourage hard-pressed consumers to part with their cash.

“Overall customer bookings, though a little later than normal, have remained consistently strong,” Meeson said.

“Package holiday customers continue to display a materially higher mix of the total departing passengers, being up 13 percentage points.”

Elsewhere, Meeson added that the recent disruption at the airports it operates at had “abated significantly”.

The airline boss issued a blistering attack on airports just weeks ago, as various airports across the country struggled to keep up with the rapid rise in demand for overseas travel, leading some airlines to cancel some flights.

Meeson’s ire came because he said the airline had made a “significant investment” to prepare for the summer season, by “retaining over 8,000 loyal colleagues during the pandemic and substantially topping up the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme funding on a sliding scale basis”, ensuring that the lowest paid earned their full salary.

He added that this move meant it had been able to keep its seat capacity 14% above summer 2019, with “no cancellations made due to any Jet2 resource constraints”.

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