plans further expansion at LBA to confirm #1 status

Despite growing at around 40% this year and being on-track to carry nearly 4 million passengers in 2007, is rarely mentioned when low-cost airlines are discussed in the UK. This may be due to its major bases all being in the north of the country and thus away from the media spotlight that tends to be London focussed.

Image: Jet2
Jet2’s older equipment gives the fleet an average age of 20 years, but the lower demands on utilisation produce above average punctuality. Five of the 737s used at night in ‘quick-change’ mode – a curiosity for an LCC but explained away by the fact that its owners have significant express freight interests.

Since its launch at Leeds/Bradford (LBA) airport in February 2003 the airline, part of the Dart Group (which has major express freight activities) has grown to a fleet of 29 aircraft comprising 21 737s (142/148 seats) and eight 757s (235 seats). The average age of the fleet is much older than others at around 20 years. Five of the 737s are ‘quick-change’ models and are used for Royal Mail operations at night. An additional BAe 146-300 is wet-leased from Flightline to operate between Newcastle and London Gatwick.

Apart from the LBA base the airline also has bases at Manchester, Newcastle, Belfast Aldergrove and Blackpool.

Operations are characterised by relatively low aircraft utilisation, presumably due to lower acquisition costs. This also results in better than average punctuality and route frequencies that vary considerably according to seasonality. Growth in 2007 has been driven by the airline’s recent acquisition of the larger 757 aircraft which it uses on flights to Spain, especially the Canary Islands.

Chart: monthly passengers
Source: UK CAA

According to UK CAA data average annual (flown) load factors have been between 75% and 80% with August usually having the highest monthly load factor of around 86%.

Dominant carrier at LBA

In quick time has become the leading scheduled airline at Leeds/Bradford airport. The number of destinations has grown each year and there are currently 29 routes on sale for next summer including such varied destinations as Avignon, Hamburg Lübeck, Crete, Jersey, La Rochelle, Madrid, Olbia and Paphos. All of these new services are at less than daily frequency.

Chart: routes from LBA
Source: Airline website

Since operations began at LBA no route has ever been dropped though Milan Bergamo disappeared from the schedules between the end of September 2003 and the beginning of April 2006. Apart from seasonal summer routes, winter-only destinations such as Geneva, Chambery and Salzburg are also served.

Jet2 has a greater than 50% share of scheduled capacity during the summer months and offers four times more capacity than the next largest airline at LBA, bmi. In terms of frequency however the gap is much narrower.

Chart: Scheduled Market Share at LBA
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 08 Oct 2007.

This summer a total of nine aircraft were based at LBA (five 737s and four 757s). One of the 757s will move elsewhere for winter but next summer the fleet will increase to 11 aircraft. The destinations currently served by Jet2 from the airport are:

Summer 2007 Alicante, Almeria, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast International, Düsseldorf, Faro, Ibiza, Krakow, Malaga, Menorca, Milan Bergamo, Murcia, Nice, Palma, Paris, Pisa, Prague, Rome, Tenerife, Toulouse, Valencia and Venice.
Winter 2007 Alicante, Amsterdam, Arrecife (Lanzarote), Barcelona, Belfast International, Chambery, Düsseldorf, Faro, Geneva, Krakow, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Malaga, Milan Bergamo, Murcia, Palma, Paris, Prague, Salzburg and Tenerife.

The only direct competition faced on any route is against KLM to Amsterdam. On Belfast the airline competes indirectly with Flybe which operates to Belfast City. In 2006 over 100,000 passengers were transported by Jet2 to Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast, Malaga, Palma and Paris. For details of some of the typical fares on offer with jet2 at LBA see this week’s farewatch.

Image: Jet2Lively website

Jet2’s website contains a news section that is considerably less stuffy than most other airline websites with a distinctly tabloid feel to it. One recent announcement promoted a new all-day breakfast option called the Love Muffin. However, one valuable feature on the website appears to have disappeared. At one time the airline reported the price of a pint of beer at each destination.

Map: Jet2 routes


  1. Jason Shutt says:


    Would love to receive latest info on Jet2 to assist with an assignment on market analysis.


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