Jet2 PLC (AIM:JET2) has overtaken Tui to become the UK’s largest tour operator for the first time after it increased its package holiday capacity for the year ahead.
Jet2holidays, a subsidiary of Jet2 and counterpart to the group’s low-cost airline, has gained licences to provide holidays for up to 5.9mln people annually, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, compared to Tui’s capacity of 5.3mln.
Capacity has been increased by around 600,000 due to a resurgence in demand seen across the aviation industry over the last year with trips now offered to 65 destinations.
Steve Heapy, chief executive, suggested independent travel agents had been vital for Jet2’s growth since its maiden flight in 2007.
“The loyalty of those independent travel agency partners has been absolutely integral to our growth and success,” he said, “I can promise we will repay that faith by continuing to focus resolutely on our partnership approach to working with independent travel agents”.
Tui is set to report first-quarter results on Tuesday, with analysts suggesting the German holidaymaker would likely publish a mixed set of results as it continues repaying aid sent by the government during the pandemic.
Jet2 updated that bookings had strengthened throughout December and January, with package holidays making up around 60% of its winter departures.