Shares in Dart Group jumped on the back of the trading announcement which also provided a boost for the share prices of airline rivals Tui and easyJet.In a trading update, the Leeds-based Dart Group said that its leisure travel business has continued to receive “encouraging levels” of later season bookings, with overall demand for both flight-only and package holiday products continuing to strengthen.The statement added: “We have also experienced increased levels of customer demand since Thomas Cook Group Plc entered into compulsory liquidation in late September 2019 and we continue to assess the impact this will have for our business in the coming months.”“Given the strengthening booking trend, the board now believes that current market expectations for group profit before foreign exchange revaluations and taxation for the year ending March 31 2020 will be exceeded. The board will provide a further update on publication of its interim results on November 21 2019.”“Looking further ahead, our comments from the annual general meeting remain - given the cost pressures the travel industry is facing in general, which will intensify given the weakness in sterling, plus the deepening Brexit uncertainty and the impact this may have on consumer confidence, we remain very cautious in our outlook.”Thomas Cook ceased trading last month after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal. It was unable to find the extra £200 million needed to keep the business afloat following a day of talks with its major shareholder and creditors. All Thomas Cook flights were grounded and holidays cancelled.Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “The impact on the industry of Thomas Cook’s collapse is reflected in today’s trading update from the owner of airline Jet2, Dart Group.“Dart was always a likely beneficiary because it offers both flight-only and package holidays and is a natural home for customers looking for something similar to Thomas Cook’s proposition.“In particular, Jet2 was well placed to strengthen its market leading positions on the Iberian Peninsula given that the region represented a third of Thomas Cook’s capacity.”Mr Mould added: “Today’s news is also likely to raise expectations for a similar boost for other Thomas Cook rivals including TUI.”
Jet2.com can trace its roots back to the commercial aircraft company Channel Express (Air Services). It changed its name to Jet2.com before its first leisure flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Amsterdam in February 2003.It was founded by Philip Meeson,, 71, who spent his teenage years making model planes and learning how to fly in the Air Training Corps. After school, at Wellingborough, he signed on as a galley boy on a trawler and sailed up to Bear Island in the Barents Sea and back. Back on dry land, Mr Meeson entered the RAF, and later formed a small business with a backer buying and selling second-hand training aeroplanes.