owner ‘encouraged’ by summer 2021 bookings owner Dart Group is hopeful about its prospects over the next year, encouraged by bookings and the attractiveness of its offer.

However it warned it still has “limited visibility” for the rest of the current financial year and its performance “is largely dependent on the level of flying permitted” for the rest of the summer.

Depite that, Dart Group’s executive chairman Philip Meeson believes “Jet2 will emerge from this crisis an even stronger company”.

The Leeds-based group said its monthly load factors for the winter season are “satisfactory” and its bookings for summer 2021 are “encouraging”.

It expects to benefit from an increase in package holiday sales, which are higher margin than flight-only bookings.

The industry remains under significant pressure. Ground handler Swissport plans to cut more than 4,500 jobs in the UK, while Birmingham Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport have announced hundreds of job losses in the last week.

Jet2 announced nearly 500 job cuts last month, affecting 380 members of cabin crew and 102 pilots.

Meeson said: “The beginning of the new financial year has brought significant challenges for the entire Leisure Travel industry.

“The decisions and actions we have taken since have been guided by our commitment to maintain our responsible balance sheet management and carefully protect our cash balance, to enable the business to exit the Covid-19 period in a stable commercial position and to be able to capitalise on the upturn opportunity when it arrives.”

The group had enjoyed a record performance in the year to March. Operating profits were up 50% to £264.2m, although “hedge ineffectiveness as a direct result of Covid-19” created a £108m charge.

Its share price had climbed during autumn and winter, more than doubling to 1950p in February. But it then lost 90% of its value in a month, going below 200p, before recovering some of its losses. Last night’s closing price of 764p values the group at £1.36bn.