Jet2 plans summer expansion

As part of an ongoing expansion in the North of England, budget carrier, Jet2, is to create an extra 145 summer jobs at its largest hub, Leeds Bradford Airport. The jobs, which include a range of different positions, from flight attendants to baggage handlers, will appear in local newspapers during 2011.

Jet2 enjoyed a highly lucrative summer season in 2010, attracting 2.8m passengers to ‘sun and sea’ routes at seven UK bases, including East Midlands, Manchester, and Blackpool. The airline’s parent company, Dart Group, PLC, described Jet2’s summer performance as “record breaking.”

With the celebrations over, and the last grains of sand shaken from bosses’ flip-flops, the airline has gone about improving its prospects for 2011, increasing the frequency of flights to and from Manchester, and adding five new routes at East Midlands. Jet2 will also create up to 600 jobs throughout the UK, including those at Leeds.

Handling 1.1m passengers on 41 different routes, Jet2’s base at Leeds Bradford accounts for around 50% of the airline’s total traffic in the UK. However, the carrier is looking to increase its stranglehold on Yorkshire aviation, by boosting seat capacity at Leeds to 1.8m, and introducing flights to Funchal, Madeira, and Bodrum, Turkey, from February and June, respectively.

The move will give Jet2 a two-fold lead over closest rival, Ryanair, which offers 21 destinations from Leeds Bradford. The two airlines compete directly on a number of routes, including Alicante and Barcelona in Spain. Jet2’s new flight to Bodrum is likely to trigger a price war with travel agent, Thomas Cook, the third-largest carrier at Leeds.

“We know it’s important to continue to innovate and evolve,” Jet2 chief, Philip Meeson, told the Telegraph and Argus. “That’s why we are introducing new destinations and flights (at Leeds) next year, to meet the needs of our loyal customers.” Meeson also referred to the Yorkshire airport as “our home.”

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