By Kristy Dorsey

The chief executive of Jet2 has said the budget travel operator is “looking forward” to Scotland following in the UK Government’s footsteps by allowing double-jabbed passengers to return from Amber List countries without the need to quarantine.

Responding to yesterday’s statement by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who confirmed the change of rules due to take effect in England from July 19, Steve Heapy said Jet2 will be restarting flights and holidays to all Amber List destinations from that date. He added that the company is “ready for the wave of demand that this long-awaited and very welcome news will bring”.

The announcement on the change of rules in England coincided with the publication of Jet2’s annual results, in which the business posted a loss of £373.8 million for the year to March 31. While the company said it has “limited visibility” on the current summer travel season and the ensuing winter period, Mr Heapy later described the loosening of international travel restrictions as “an extremely positive step forward”.

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“With the Government looking to unlock restrictions from 19th July, we have been calling for international travel not to be left behind,” he said. “It is fantastic news for our customers who want nothing more than to get away, and we cannot wait to take them on their well-deserved holidays.

“We look forward to the Scottish and Northern Ireland governments following suit and await further good news from the devolved nations.”

During the year to the end of March, Jet2 flew a total of 1.32 million single sector passengers, down 91% from 14.62 million passengers the previous year. With the aircraft fleet grounded for approximately 29 weeks, and an extremely reduced flying programme at other times, revenues fell by 89% to £395.4m.

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Looking ahead to the summer of 2022, Jet2 said bookings were “encouraging”, with package holiday bookings representing a “materially higher mix of the total”. As a result, next summer is expected to show a considerable improvement on that of this and last year.

The group has a total cash balance of £1.9 billion after processing more than £1.4bn in refunds to customers since the pandemic began. This was bolstered by £1bn of additional funding during the financial year via shareholder and bank support, plus a £150m term loan and the issue of £387.4m of convertible bonds since the close of the financial year.