If you’ve spent time at UK airports, particularly in the North, chances are you’ve come across Jet2. With its characteristic silver and red aircraft, Jet2 is now the third-largest scheduled airline in the UK, behind British Airways and easyJet. If you’re not familiar with Jet2, we’ll run through some of its history for you.
A relative newcomer to the commercial airline industry, Jet2 was established out of Leeds Bradford International Airport in 2003. Famously, the airline’s first office was a portacabin at the airport.
Initially operating just two aircraft, the airline opened its first route to Amsterdam. Targeting UK holidaymakers seeking cheap breaks in Europe, Jet2 would continue to expand over the years with this key philosophy at its heart.
As it grew, Jet2 focused its expansion on the airports of Northern England. Competition from larger carriers was less fierce in the north, and Jet2 was able to offer flights to popular holiday destinations with minimal travel time to the airport from cities and towns in the region.
The airline’s original slogan was actually “The North’s Low Cost Airline”, but that has since changed to the one you see on Jet2 aircraft nowadays – “Friendly Low Fares”.
From its original base at Leeds Bradford International Airport, Jet2 soon began operating flights out of Manchester, Belfast and Newcastle. Only in 2017 did Jet2 begin operations out of a southern airport – London Stansted – which remains the airline’s only London hub today.
Jet2 has enjoyed solid growth since it began operations back in 2003. In 2004, just one year later, the airline flew more than 1.2 million passengers. Its annual passenger numbers grew to more than 12 million by 2018.
From its original twice-daily Leeds to Amsterdam route, Jet2 now flies to 70 destinations across Europe.
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The airline has stuck to its original holiday philosophy, which is reflected in its list of destinations. These destinations are primarily in southern Europe and the Mediterranean, offering customers year-round sun at an affordable price.
Jet2 also recently announced a newly-expanded winter flight schedule which includes many popular holiday destinations. The airline says these additional seats were a result of increased demand and totally not related to the collapse of Thomas Cook (wink wink).
Finally, Jet2 also operates seasonal transatlantic flights to New York from five UK airports. It’s not the usual winter sun destination that Jet2 specializes in, but there is definitely a market for flights to New York over the festive season.
Jet2 started off with just two Boeing 737-300s. As it began to serve destinations further afield, the airline needed aircraft which were better equipped for longer haul flights.
The airline now has a total of 96 active aircraft, a number which will surely increase if the airline continues its current rate of growth.