With Jet2 having a substantial coverage of flights and holidays across Europe, we ask the following question: Will they ever go long-haul?
This piece will take a look at where the company is right now, and what sort of scope or challenges there would be for them regarding long-haul.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
How Is Jet2 Performing Right Now?
At the time of writing, Jet2 currently operate to 67 destinations across Europe from 11 airports across the UK.
They currently have a fleet of 116 aircraft, of which 113 are in service and three are currently parked, with another 146 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft on order.
The major order that they have got going for themselves at the moment is going to encourage significant route expansion across Europe, as well as provide renewal for their more older jets, being the 737-800 series, with an average fleet age of 15 years, as well as their Boeing 757s, that have an average of 32.9 years.
As per their 2022-23 report, Jet2 has been flourishing, with the Group reporting a £371m profit before tax, following a strong recovery made from a £388.8m loss in the period previous, which had a lot to do with the famous rebound of Summer 2022.
The airline will no doubt be expected to produce the same result, if not higher, as the Summer 2023 season has been even busier for them.
Long-Haul Flights Not Ruled Out by their CEO…
Jet2 have delved into the long-haul scene before, but mainly for a few weeks at a time, showing how temporary it actually was.
If anything, it was more of a money-maker to get them through the Winter months, with their services to New York for Christmas shopping passengers from the likes of Leeds and Manchester.
However, the question we are asking here is whether they would consider such operations on a more permanent year-round basis.
This was partly answered by Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy at a conference held by Barrhead Travel in Palma earlier this week.
As per Travel Gossip, Heapy mentioned that it isn’t a focus for them right now, but maybe in the future:
“At the moment we don’t have a plan to do long-haul. We are focusing on the Med – Greece, Turkey – there’s a lot more we can do in other destinations as well”.
“[Long-haul] is a possibility maybe in the future”.
And within this, it looks like he has been sniffing around at the concept of taking the brand long-haul.
He mentioned in the conference that acquiring five Boeing 787 aircraft would cost the airline around £1bn, and that a decision like that is something they don’t take lightly:
“We are not averse to taking risks, but it is about building a business case and getting the timing right.”
Jet2 does have long-haul aircraft in the form of the Airbus A330, but they are only utilised mainly for the Summer season via leases from Air Tanker. Could they use them in the future instead if aircraft is an issue?
Is It Commercially Viable Considering The Competition?
As Heapy mentioned at the Barrhead Travel Conference in Palma, there needs to be a business case. But is it commercially viable given the competition that they may face?
Let’s take Manchester as a case study in this for example.
There is TUI that operate flights and holidays across the Atlantic to the likes of the U.S, Mexico & the Caribbean, in which they have done for sometime.
Virgin Atlantic offer such opportunities as well, but typically at a higher price. With TUI already operating the Boeing 787 to such routes as well, pricing could be very tight in swaying customers over to the other side.
Aer Lingus also operate flights to the U.S & the Caribbean from Manchester, which again can throw another concept into the mix, with their airfares being quite affordable at the present moment.
The way that they could make it commercially viable is if the price point was competitive enough but would gain a substantial return for Jet2 on their flights and holidays, and to ensure that they would know they could beat the competition.
It could work from their other base of operations around the UK such as Birmingham and London Stansted, and maybe even up in Scotland as well, but Heapy is correct to approach such a topic with caution.
Overall: What Is Next for Jet2?
For now, the priority for Jet2 with their flights and holidays is simple: Focusing on the Mediterranean and receiving more aircraft to accommodate for this.
The interesting aspect behind CEO Steve Heapy’s comments in Palma is how he used the Boeing 787 as an example of this, a model that is already being adopted by competitor TUI.
If Jet2 do go long-haul for flights and holidays, then on a speculative note, the 787 might be the perfect fit for them in this regard.
Financially, they are in a healthy position to do this, after a major recovery last year post-pandemic, as well as a very successful Summer 2023 season too.
It is of course unclear when or whether a decision will be made on this, but all eyes will be on Jet2 to see if they decide to take that leap and provide permanent long-haul flights and holidays.
What we do know, is that it hasn’t been ruled out. Not just yet, anyway.
Did you know AviationSource has two newsletters? One covers the general news and analysis of the industry as a whole, and the other to do with emergencies that take place throughout the year! To subscribe to our General News Newsletter, CLICK HERE! To subscribe to our Emergencies, Accidents & Incidents Newsletter, CLICK HERE!