sees strong sales growth

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The company behind the airline and Jet2holidays said times may be tough but its customers in the North of England are still keen to take their families on holiday.

The chairman of Leeds-based Dart Group Philip Meeson said: “Times are tough and money is short, but it seems that our Northern UK customers are still keen to take their family holidays and visit great leisure cities.

“Over the past year we have carefully concentrated on building our services to high volume leisure destinations, focusing on commercial and political risk free Mediterranean and Canary Islands resorts and leading leisure break cities,” he added.

The airline operates over 60 summer routes to Spain, the number one destination for UK holiday makers.

In the year to March 31 Dart’s turnover rose 26 per cent to £683m and pre-tax profits rose from £26.2m to £28.1m.

The growth in turnover reflects expansion in both, the group’s leisure airline and Jet2holidays, its package holiday business, which more than doubled its passenger numbers in the year.

Airline profits fell, despite capacity and load factor growth, mainly due to increased jet fuel prices which the company was not able to pass on to our customers.

Jet2holidays reported pre-tax profits of £2.5m on the back of a 140 per cent increase in turnover.

Over the year operated 145 routes from its eight Northern bases to 49 destinations.

It flew 4.3 million scheduled service passengers and sold over 200,000 package holidays.

“We expect to increase our passenger numbers by approximately 10 per cent and to double the number of package holidays sold in the current financial year,” said Mr Meeson.