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Winter holiday bookings slow thanks to travel ‘speculation’ says Jet 2

Written by on 08/07/2021

Holiday bookings for the winter are already slowing due to “ongoing speculation around international travel”, operator Jet 2 said as it reported a big annual loss.

The group had previously revealed that trips for this summer were being left until the last minute due to uncertainty over travel rules but in its latest update also suggested anxiety about plans for later in the year.

Jet 2 reported a pre-tax loss of £341m for the year to the end of March compared to a profit of £153m a year earlier as revenues slumped by 89% to £395m thanks to the “devastating” impact of pandemic restrictions – which also resulted in 546 staff being made redundant.

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European holiday hopes on the line

It said its aircraft were fully grounded for 29 weeks of the financial year while it flew a total of 1.32 million passengers, down by 91% on 2019/20.

The company lamented that while the roll-out of vaccines in the UK and Europe were encouraging there had been little change in the huge challenges facing the industry.

Executive chairman Philip Meeson criticised the government’s travel task force as lacking “depth and detail” and said the traffic light system for reopening the sector “only served to confuse rather than clarify for consumers”.

He said the recent expansion of the “green watch list” for destinations and the potential easing of quarantine restrictions for amber list countries for those who are fully vaccinated were welcome.

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But Mr Meeson cautioned that its performance for the current financial year was “very much dependent on the level of flying permitted for the remainder of Summer 21” and in the second half of the financial year which were “periods for which we still have limited visibility.

“Unsurprisingly given the continuing short-term uncertainty, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for Summer 21,” he said.

“Although bookings to date for Winter 21/22 are satisfactory, they have slowed more recently given the ongoing speculation around international travel.”

Mr Meeson said bookings for next summer were encouraging, adding that “with the vaccination progress being made, we are optimistic that Summer 22 will be a considerable improvement on both Summer 20 and Summer 21”.

 Sky News

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