Flights to ‘more than double,’ says Jet2

Budget airline, Jet2, has announced a huge expansion to its operations in the Midlands and Northern England, due to commence in 2011. The carrier, which is based in Leeds, will create 600 jobs next summer, including flight and engineering crews, as 26 new routes enter circulation at Manchester, Leeds Bradford, and East Midlands airports.

The airline’s parent, Dart Group, PLC, said that summer 2010 was ‘record breaking,’ in terms of passengers flown, with Jet2’s bases in the north drawing crowds of millions (2.8m, to be precise) during the peak ‘sun and sea’ season.

However, Jet2’s presence at Castle Donnington hub, East Midlands, is perhaps the biggest success story of recent months. The airline has held a base at the airport for just six months, but the regional airport has experienced faster growth than the majority of Jet2’s bases in the UK.

Philip Meeson, Jet2’s CEO, said, “We are delighted that we’ve had such a successful first summer at East Midlands.” Meeson noted that Jet2 is the “only airline” to have added routes from the Castle Donnington airport for 2011. Flights to Alicante, Bodrum, Faro, Palma, and Rhodes will begin in May and June, creating 39 jobs.

Jet2 hopes that the new destinations will boost the number of passengers flying with the carrier from the Midlands to 300,000 per year. The hike in customers will be aided by the delivery of one new aircraft to the hub, a Boeing 757.

The Yorkshire airline has also invested in ergonomic seating with “great legroom.” The new seats, says Jet2, will be a feature of all aircraft next year, and could be instrumental in reducing airfares, as they are lighter than the average airline seat.

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