Jet2 expects to exceed profit forecasts for the year ahead, despite a summer of disruption caused by last weeks’ air traffic control shutdown and rampant wildfires on the Greek Island of Rhodes.
Annual pre-tax profits on a constant currency basis are expected to hit between £480m to £520m, after the months of July and August experienced “strong late booking momentum” amid record travel demand.
Shares flew up more than seven per cent on the announcement.
Jet2 said bookings for the typically quieter winter months were also encouraging, with seat capacity up 20.4 per cent year on year to 4.47 million and gains in its package holiday segment.
But the group fired warning shots as it noted a £13m hit to its cost base from the wildfires in Rhodes and the NATs air traffic control failure, which grounded thousands of flights across the UK last week.
A summer of disruption has threatened to spoil the party for travel groups and airlines, which have been reaping the benefits of one of the busiest seasons on record.
One of the worst air traffic control failures in decades occurred at NATs last week, resulting in thousands of cancelled flights and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
That had followed weeks of disruption caused by wildfires in Southern Europe, which had already cost airlines and travel operators millions.
Nearly 10,000 Brits were stranded on the fire-ravaged Greek Island of Rhodes, with repatriation flights continuing for weeks.
Jet2 said the chaos ultimately resulted in a “small reduction” in seat capacity sold over the summer to 15.26m, but this was still 7.3 per cent higher than the previous year.
The package holiday airline said teams’ outstanding service was “demonstrated both during, and after, the significant disruption caused by the Rhodes and Nats incidents as our UK operational and head office support teams, combined with our overseas teams at destination airports and in resort, once again proved a real differentiator.”
However, it warned its updated guidance remained “dependent on avoiding any material extraneous events in the balance of the year.”
The board will provide a further trading update on the publication of its interim results on 23 November 2023.
This comes after the UK’s aviation regulator launched an independent inquiry into last week’s air traffic control chaos, which grounded thousands of flights and left passengers stranded.