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Jet2 owner is happy with holiday demand
Leisure company boss Philip Meeson says Northern sunseekers are defying austerity and still insisting on a summer family holiday or city break – but demand for winter breaks has declined.
The chairman of Yeadon-based Dart Group, owner of airline Jet2.com and package holiday operator Jet2 holidays.com, expects to increase passenger numbers by another ten per cent and double the sale of package holidays this year, following significant growth in 2011.
Jet2.com more than doubled passenger numbers last year and the holiday company sold more than 200,000 packages, which helped Dart boost turnover and profits in the year to March 31.
Dart Group, which also owns the Fowler Welch distribution and logistics business, lifted turnover by 26 per cent to £683 million in the year to March 31, compared with £543 million the previous year.
Pre-tax profits rose to £28.1million against £26.2 million.
Mr Meeson said the holiday business achieved pre-tax profits of £2.5 million on the back of a 140 per cent increase in turnover.
A 24 per cent per tonne rise in aviation fuel, which could not be passed on to customers, dented Jet2.com’s profits by ten per cent , from £24.1 million to £21.7 million, despite sales growing by 18 per cent rise and passenger numbers rising by 27 per cent to 4.5 million.
Fowler & Welch improved operating margins after investment and restructuring and achieved pre-tax profits of £3.9 million.
Mr 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. “We expect to increase our passenger numbers by approximately ten per cent and to double the number of package holidays sold in the current financial year.”
Mr Meeson said more than 65 per cent of holiday packages were all-inclusive or half-board deals, which had grown in popularity in difficult times.
Due to a fall in demand for winter breaks, 80 per cent of Dart’s leisure travel turnover was earned between April and October.
He said: “We take a careful and considered view of expansion in our leisure airline business, especially in the current economic climate.
“However, we are certainly optimistic for our continued growth in the holiday market.
“We plan to grow each of our businesses in the year ahead .
“We are encouraged both by these business opportunities and by the start we have made to the current year but in the current economic environment we are cautious in respect of profit growth.”