Jet2 hits record profits as airline industry makes swift recovery

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UK-listed airlines have added a combined £9bn to their long-term debt since the start of the Covid pandemic

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Budget airline and package holiday provider Jet2 swung from deep losses in the first half of the year to record profits in the latest sign of the industry’s remarkable recovery after two years of lockdown and travel restrictions.

The company was in the black for £450.7 million in the six months to September, compared with a £205.8 million loss for the same period last year, still marked by severe Covid-era limits on overseas travel.

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Sales set to rise 730% to £3.6bn in 2021, while seat capacity rises 14% on 2019 levels, as pent-up demand from a surge in package holidays helps summer surpass pre-pandemic levels .

The strong results follow a bumper first-half profit from Ryanair earlier this month, although rivals EasyJet and Wizz Air are still loss-making.

Jet’s executive chairman, Philip Mason, said: “Our leisure travel business continues its encouraging recovery as international travel reopens in early 2022.

“Considering strong customer demand, especially for package holidays, as well as a strong pricing environment and cost controls, compared to the recent Covid-affected summer season, but also against the pre-Covid summer 2019, the financials Performance has improved a lot.”

Jet2 shares climbed 3.7% to 925p. The strong results came as the airline said it planned to increase flight capacity through the order of dozens of new Airbus aircraft in a deal worth up to £7bn.

Sophie Lund-Yates, principal equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne, said: “Jet2’s turn from loss to profit can only be described as impressive, and reflects the huge increase in revenue as the industry recovers from strict lockdown restrictions.

“Its low cost offering means it is more accessible than other brands during a cost-of-living crisis, and is likely to see customers who are forced to spend less on their next holiday choose Jet2. “

UK-listed airlines have added a combined £9 billion to their long-term debt since the start of the Covid pandemic, according to Evening Standard analysis based on Bloomberg data, after scores of flight cancellations and travel restrictions forced firms to ground their planes. forced to ground. or operate at low levels of capacity, pushing airports to the brink of collapse.

But the result comes amid reports that the 100ml limit for carrying liquids through airport security is set to be scrapped in 2024, a potential boon for the airline industry that has been fighting airport security wait times. and increase passenger numbers following a wave of capacity cuts.

According to the Times, new advanced CT scanning technology is to be introduced at UK airports over the next two years, which will allow for a greater degree of inspection of passenger bags and enable policy changes.

Passengers can bring regular-sized drinks through airport security for the first time since 2006, when the 100ml rule was introduced following a terrorist plot involving liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks.

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