A combination of soaring summer demand and rising prices helped package holiday provider Jet2’s half-year profits take off, despite a slowdown in bookings.
Pre-tax profits jumped 47 per cent in the six months to October to £660.5m, while group profit before foreign exchange revaluation and taxation increased by just under a third, to £664.6m.
The airline and tour operator said net ticket yields per passenger rose 18 per cent to £124.1, while the average price of a Jet2holidays trip increased 11 per cent to £855.
However, the firm admitted that “bookings have been a little slower in recent weeks” as it said there had been a shift to later bookings for next summer, between January and March next year.
Shares in the company fell four per cent following this warning.
Group profit for the full-year ending March is expected to come in in line with previous guidance, at between £480m and £520m. Summer seat capacity for 2024 also remains solid, at 12 per cent higher on what was a record season of travel this year.
Steve Heapy, Jet2’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to have delivered another strong financial performance during the first half of the financial year, despite the well-publicised external challenges faced.”
Continued confidence from the board will see investors rewarded with a sweetened 4.0p per share dividend, up from a prior year’s 3p and paid out on 2 February.
It continues a booming year for the London-listed firm, which has cashed in on this years’ post-pandemic travel bonanza.
The bullish performance has not been without turbulence though. Rampant wildfires on the Greek Island of Rhodes wiped £14m of the company’s bottom line, while the UK’s air traffic meltdown in late August grounded flights in Jet2’s airline segment.
Looking ahead, conflict in the Middle East and oil prices, which directly impact the cost of jet fuels such as kerosene, will be well on the mind of investors.
Analysts are also carefully watching the affects of long-time chief and founder Philip Meeson’s departure in September. The entrepreneur dragged the business from a fledgling cargo carrier to the UK’s premier package holiday provider.