Dart flies better even though higher fuel costs hit home

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AN improved performance at Jet2holidays boosted profits at parent company Dart Group, despite high jet fuel costs hitting its budget airline Jet2.com.

Dart Group, which is based at Leeds Bradford airport, said pre-tax profits rose eight per cent to £41.6m in the six months to September 30.

Dart said that Jet2.com has grown significantly, with capacity up by 29 per cent in the six months.

The budget airline’s revenues rose by 27 per cent to £316m, as a result of increased passenger volumes.

The company flew 3.2 million scheduled passengers in the period, an increase of 32 per cent on last year.

The total number of routes served from all of its bases rose to 148.

The growth of Jet2holidays accounted for almost a quarter of the increase in Jet2.com passenger volumes. Load factors were increased from 87.5 per cent to 89.8 per cent, but net ticket yields fell from £53.79 to £52.63 as a result of the challenging trading conditions.

Coupled with rising costs – with jet fuel prices rising by 24 per cent per tonne – and a weaker sterling exchange rate, this resulted in a reduction in Jet2.com’s operating margins.

The company operates 38 aircraft focusing on its core high volume leisure routes from eight mostly-Northern UK bases: Leeds Bradford, Belfast, Blackpool, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.

Retail revenue per passenger increased seven per cent to £27.87 during the half year as a result of a continued focus on pre-departure, in-flight and ancillary product sales.

Last month Jet2.com said it is being forced to trim its winter capacity and reduce its prices as the squeeze on household incomes hits spending on holidays.