THAT people are reluctant to cut back on holidays amid a cost of living crisis over the last two years is clear from travel company Jet2’s soaring profits in the six months ended September 30 – and that’s despite the airline and package holiday operator taking a £14 million hit from the summer’s air traffic control chaos and wildfires and flooding on Greek islands.

In what was a strong first half of its financial year, Jet2 saw group operating profit increase by 19% to £617 million from £516.6m for the same period last year while and pre-tax profit saw a 47% hike to £660.5m from £450.7m for the same six months in 2022. Revenue came in at £4.4 billion for the six months, up by nearly a quarter compared with the first half.

The company, which operates two bases in Scotland – Edinburgh and Glasgow – attributed its performance partly to the average price of a Jet2holiday package rising 11% to £855 during the period and the fact that people are not prepared to forgo their annual flight to sunnier climes.

Scotland flights: Jet2 Glasgow, Edinburgh Majorca routes

Declaring that it is “on track” to deliver full-year profits of around £500m despite “well-publicised external challenges”, Jet2 pointed to “offering the right product for tough times” as a successful formula.

Against summer 2022, seat capacity increased 7% and the business achieved an average load factor of 90.7%. Jet2 also attracted more higher margin package holiday passengers, with this increasing by 4.9 percentage points to 70.8%.

While cautioning that winter bookings had slowed slightly in recent weeks with average load factors down by 1.3 percentage points compared with this time last year, Jet2 insisted that pricing to date remains “robust” and that traditionally over 40% of winter bookers are made between January and March.

Looking ahead to summer 2024, current capacity, at 17.19 million seats, is about 12% higher than summer 2023. “Bookings and pricing at this early stage are encouraging, with average load factors two percentage points ahead of summer 2023 at the same point,” Jet2 noted.

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Steve Heapy, chief executive of Leeds-based Jet2 plc 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. This clearly demonstrates that our end-to-end package holiday is a popular and resilient product and is the right product for price-conscious customers.”

Jet2’s formula certainly appears to be working.