PACKAGE holiday specialist Jet2holidays is creating around 100 North East jobs after announcing five new routes from Newcastle Airport.
The group, which is marking its fifth anniversary, will start flying to Dubrovnik in Croatia, Venice, Rome, Reus in Spain and Bodrum in Turkey, bringing the number of destinations it flies to from Newcastle to 27.
Steve Lee, Jet2 Holidays commercial director, said: “Hopefully this will bring 100 new jobs to Newcastle Airport. Newcastle is a large operation. As well as pilots, we have cabin crew and engineers and check-in staff. There’s probably about 250 people.
“The majority of the new staff are likely to be cabin crew and check-in staff. With the cabin crew, we like to recruit locally and also the check-in staff. Newcastle has six aircraft and is a very significant base for us. We’ve been at Newcastle for a number of years and I think we’re the largest airline based at Newcastle. We fly to 27 destinations – it’s important operationally and as a hub.”
An additional plane will be added to the company’s Newcastle base when the airline starts flying to the new destinations in April.
Jet2holidays is part of the budget flight business Jet2.com, which is owned by Dart Group plc. Lee said the backing of the larger group meant the brand was well able to withstand the problems that the bleak economic outlook had caused for other travel businesses.
“When we started in 2007, we were part of an established brand Jet2.com and the parent company has been established since the 1970s,” he said.
“Our passenger numbers at Newcastle Airport are up from around 5,000 in the first year to just under 40,000 last year.
“People are more cost conscious and that’s where Jet2 has come to the fore. At the moment, booking numbers are encouraging. January is the busiest month; It’s early days but we are very encouraged.”
He said cost-conscious holidaymakers are opting for all-inclusive breaks which currently make up around 60% of bookings.
The firm also flies from Leeds, East Midlands, Blackpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast. Since its launch in 2007, total passenger numbers have rocked by 500% from 34,000 to more than 200,000 last year.
Managing director Steve Heapy said: “We are well on track for our 500,000th customer booking this spring.
“Our development is a result of our focus on creating a holiday service that reflects our customer needs – great products at great value prices.
“We are bucking the industry trend in the current climate, with sustained growth and record January bookings, in contrast to the market which is reportedly 7% down on last year.”