Airlines

Published on September 13th, 2015 | by Jim Lee

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Jet2.com announces significant investment in additional aircraft

Jet2.com, which has a significant presence at Belfast International Airport, with services to Alicante, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Faro, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Mahon (Menorca), Malaga, Murcia, Palma Majorca, Pisa, Prague, Reus, Rome, Tenerife and Zante, has announced a significant investment in additional aircraft. It also operates a large operation mainly on holiday routes and packages from Manchester and Leeds and from bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Midlands and Newcastle.

At the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 3rd September, Philip Meeson, Group Chairman and Chief Executive, confirmed that in order to meet the future anticipated growth of its Leisure Travel business and for planned fleet replacement; the Company had entered into an agreement with Boeing to purchase 27 new Boeing 737-800NG aircraft. These aircraft will be delivered between September 2016 and April 2018.

Demand for the group’s package holiday products continues to grow and as a result, the number of package holiday customers, as a proportion of overall flown customer numbers, has increased. The company’s statement notes that the “aircraft will be used to take package holiday and flight only customers to a range of exciting destinations across mainland Europe, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, as well as a host of beautiful city breaks”.

Mr. Meeson said that this was an exciting time in Jet2.com’s history as they invest in the next phase of growth and development. At current list prices, the total value of this transaction is approximately $2.6 billion (around €2.33 billion), though the Company has negotiated significant discounts from the list price. The aircraft are expected to be funded through a combination of internal resources and debt.

What is surprising about this announcement is not only the scale of the commitment, but the relative ease with which Jet2 was able to get delivery slots, with a relatively short lead time. Commentators have speculated that up to 100-200 Boeing 737-800s could be available as production of the re-engined Boeing 737 MAX is phased in, which is why large discounts would be negotiable.

Jet 2

A Boeing 757 with Jet2 Holidays titles

Mr. Meeson added: “This reliable and contemporary aeroplane will deliver increased capacity across all our bases, and will also continue to ensure a comfortable and pleasant customer experience with its improved and stylish new cabin interior. A cost effective and exceptional aircraft, this new deal will allow us to build upon our already highly successful family friendly leisure travel business.”

He concluded, “We are very pleased to have finalised this order with Boeing for the new 737-800NG aircraft, as our existing fleet of nearly 60 Boeing aeroplanes have proved to be very popular and reliable. This order ensures that we can continue to be at the forefront of developing our customer experience and product in line with our family friendly ethos; a comfortable and secure environment, coupled with great service and fabulous locations at a cost effective price.”

Fleet renewal timeline

Jet2 currently operates a fleet of Boeing 757-200s and 737s of various models, all leased. Its own 11 Boeing 757 are boosted by EC-ISY, a 757-256 leased over the summer from Privilege Style. These are backed up by 29 737-300s and 17 737-800s. Boeing 737-300’s G-CELB/D/S will be withdrawn from service this winter, but are expected be replaced with further second hand Boeing 737-800s. A further five will be withdrawn for the winter 2016 schedule, but will be replaced by the new fleet, on a one for one basis. The current Boeing 737-800s are expected to have their leases cancelled and be replaced like for like on delivery of the new aircraft in 2017, while the Boeing 757s will soldier on for some time. Some are receiving the glass cockpit upgrades as they all undergo heavy maintenance this winter.

Jet2.com continues its zero tolerance policy

Jet2.com has been adopting a zero tolerance policy, in relation to any disruptive and inappropriate behaviour onboard its flights, with effect from 29th May, The decision followed a rise in incidents industry-wide. Its ‘Onboard Together’ campaign continues, as the airline leads the charge to stamp out offensive behaviour on its flights. It reports that two passengers were handed over to police after alleged vandalism to the aircraft, resulting in delay and disruption for other holidaymakers. The male pair, travelling on the Newcastle to Larnaca flight on 22nd July 2015, were met by Cypriot authorities, after cabin crew reported unacceptable behaviour, during the flight. Both were alleged to have disobeyed requests to stop using foul and explicit language and consuming their own alcohol. In addition, their seats were seen to have been damaged, leading to a 30 minute delay to Jet2.com’s return flight to Newcastle Airport.

The airline has since banned both from travelling with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays for 12 months. It has also handed details over to Northumbria Police, seeking costs for the damage incurred to the aircraft.

Earlier, the airline, had issued disruptive passenger, Grant Marshall, with an invoice for £4,809 (around €6,550) for additional costs incurred, following his offensive behaviour on-board a flight resulting in the aircraft diverting. We previously reported on this incident, which occurred on a flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Alicante on 29th May 2015. Marshall was one of a party of 14 who was asked numerous times to stop consuming illicit alcohol, using foul language and threatening behaviour. The aircraft captain diverted the flight to Toulouse to protect the safety of the passengers and crew, and the offending passenger was off-loaded and handed over to the police authorities. Not only did the airline track down the drunken and unruly passenger, but he has also been given a lifetime ban and Jet2.com is intending to prosecute him for the disruption caused.

Jet2 G-CELE landing afte Cpt Alastair Atchison's last flight

Jet2 G-CELE landing after Cpt Alastair Atchison’s last flight

Phil Ward, Managing Director of Jet2.com said: “To protect the safety and comfort of our loyal customers and staff, we openly pledged to take actions to stamp out antisocial behaviour onboard and that is exactly what we are doing. Jet2.com is a holiday airline, so we want holidaymakers to have a wonderful time from the moment they start their holiday with us.

“More than 1,150 passengers were inconvenienced that day by Mr Marshall’s antisocial and unacceptable behaviour. This is why we issued him with this bill for the costs involved. Most passengers have a fantastic time travelling and of course know how to behave onboard, which is why we need to stop disorderly behaviour from the few like Mr Marshall.”

He added: These incidents highlights why it is important to take a stance on antisocial conduct. “Our ‘Onboard Together’ programme which empowers our crew to use numerous measures to stamp it out, including issuing verbal and written warnings and, where appropriate”, alerting the authorities”.

“This is a growing problem which needs to be tackled by the industry as a whole. Passengers and crew should not have to put up with such offensive and unnecessary disruption and airlines should certainly not have to deal with aircraft damage.”

………..and finally

Jet2 Cpt Alastair Atchison (James Fahey)

Jet2 Captain Alastair Atchison who recently retired (photo: James Fahey)

No piece on Jet2.com would be complete without mention of the retirement of one of the airlines most famous pilots, Captain Alastair Atchison. Captain Atchison was the first officer on British Airways flight BA-5390, a BAC 1-11, operating from Birmingham to Malaga, with 81 passengers on board, on 10th June 1990. In a remarkable incident, he managed to land the aircraft after a badly-fitted windscreen panel failed, sucking the captain, Tim Lancaster, halfway out of the cockpit by the escaping pressure. The captain with only his shoes holding onto the control column was prevented from being sucked out, by three crew members holding onto him. Co-pilot Alastair Atchison made an emergency descent and as he was new to the type, he had to land the plane on his own, from memory. Adding to his difficulties he also had to handle the radios on his own, but due to the sound of rushing air, he could hardly hear air traffic control. For Captain Lancaster, halfway out of the cockpit, his head and torso outdoors, it was a dreadful experience, being initially at 17,300 feet with icy 300mph winds and lack of oxygen, he was fortunate to survive until the aircraft got down to lower levels. it eventually landed safely in Southampton. Everybody, including the captain, survived that ordeal and Alastair Atchison eventually went on to fly for Jet2.com after British Airways. He landed for the last time at Manchester, on a flight from Alicante, at the controls of Boeing 737-33A, G-CELE, on 28th June, ending a remarkable career. His skill and heroism was recognised by the awarding of the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air and a 1992 Polaris Award which is the highest decoration associated with civil aviation, awarded by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Association. A video reconstruction of BA flight 5390 can be found here.

Further details at www.jet2holidays.com

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About the Author

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Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.



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