UK leisure carrier Jet2.com has committed its future fleet plans to Boeing after placing a firm order this week for 27 ‘Next-Generation’ 737-800s in a deal valued at around $2.6 billion at list prices. The airline, which supports seat-only and package holiday demand between the UK and destinations across Europe, the Mediterranean and into North Africa, is understood to have secured significant discounts to take late production aircraft ahead of Boeing’s transition from ‘Next-Generation’ to ‘MAX’ series production.
Jet2.com has emerged as a significant operator in the UK market, particularly serving regions outside of London. From its roots as a low-cost carrier at Leeds Bradford Airport it has reverse-engineered the package holiday model to form Jet2holidays and offer low-cost leisure breaks with flights, transfers and accommodation included.
Its growth has been possible thanks to the ownership of a number of ‘Classic’ 737s by its parent company, Dart Group. These aircraft have and continue to serve the airline well, but in recent years larger second-hand ‘Next-Generation’ models have been sourced and Airbus short-haul equipment chartered to boost reliability and support increasing demand.
Jet2.com has been holding informal discussions with airframe manufacturers over the introduction of new aircraft equipment for a number of years and said the new 737-800s will be used to address anticipated growth of its leisure travel business and for fleet replacement.
"This order for 27 additional 737-800NGs will be delivered over the next two years and will provide Jet2.com with the necessary cost effective, reliable and comfortable environment to allow us to build upon our already highly successful family friendly business,” said Philip Meeson, executive chairman, Jet2.com.
The airline currently operates 59 aircraft and alongside 46 737s – 29 -300s (including eight ‘Quick Change’ variants with variable passenger or cargo configuration) and 17 -800s - also has 12 757-200s and a single A320 from Titan Airways. The new aircraft will arrive over a 20 month period between September 2016 and April 2018.
Jet2.com is now in its 12th year of operation, a period during which it has played a major role in driving change within the UK travel business. The airline, a subsidiary of Dart Group and a sister entity to cargo operator Channel Express, was formed to support growing demand for low-cost air travel from the UK regions. Initially launching services from Leeds Bradford International Airport in February 2003 it has mainly focused on northern markets and now also has bases at Belfast, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.
With the formation of sister company Jet2holidays it has since re-engineered the package holiday process by offering a low-cost holiday option to passengers, packaging its own scheduled seat capacity with hotel offerings to provide a full Inclusive Tour product with offerings highly competitive with its larger rivals thanks to its low-cost business structure.
Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data highlights the airline’s network growth from the UK and its main departure points across the country by departure seats. This data shows that Manchester has now replaced its Leeds Bradford Airport headquarters as its largest home departure point, while new East Midlands and Glasgow operations this decade have already overtaken longer-standing Belfast and Edinburgh activities.
From offering just 248,074 seats from Leeds Bradford in 2003, it is this year due to offer over three million seats from eight destinations across the UK for only the third time in its history. The 3,370,420 seats on offer in 2014 was a record for the carrier and represented an 8.6 per cent capacity increase on 2013.