Holidays and airline group creates 300 jobs at retail operations centre

Middlewich retail operations centre

Three hundred jobs have been created at a new supplies warehouse opened in Cheshire by Leeds-headquartered holidays and airline group,

The 15,000 sq ft retail operations centre in Middlewich is the first of its kind in UK aviation industry.

The company explained that, during summer 2022, airlines faced supplier disruption affecting in-flight retail services.

Consequently, it decided to take control over its most critical in-flight retail operations, with the new centre developed to create a strong foundation to deliver customer service as well as drive growth.

The site will act as a centre for to stock, manage and distribute millions of in-flight retail products, such as drinks and non-perishable food that can either be pre-ordered or which feature in the airline’s in-flight menu, as well as products that can be bought from the onboard shop, such as fragrances, beauty products, gifts and duty-free.

During a typical year, it is expected that more than 25 million items will flow through the centre to be loaded onto the company’s growing fleet of aircraft.

Each day, items will be securely stored, picked and loaded onto thousands of bar carts, with each bar cart being securely screened in just six minutes by passing through one of four Cart X-Ray Scanners that have been installed at the centre.

Bar carts will then be distributed to’s UK airport bases by a fleet of and Jet2holidays branded trailers.

Given the nature of the operation, the centre has been through a strict security process to ensure it complies with relevant regulations and has been approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Colleagues will work across two shifts at the centre to ensure it supports’s flying programme around the clock.

Distribution from the facility to UK airport bases will be provided by Wincanton Logistics, while the company will use Gate Gourmet as its new Last Mile Provider, to load catering airside.

The company has promoted John Davis to the new position of director of retail to lead this area of the business reporting to Adam Mulroy, commercial and revenue director.

CEO, Steve Heapy, said: “Industry leading customer service is a critical driver of our continued success, so we are absolutely delighted to be applying that to our in-flight retail operation.

“The opening of this multimillion-pound retail operations centre is a first for UK aviation and we know that this pioneering step will provide the very best service for our customers.”

He added: “This innovation represents a material investment in our operation and an enormous amount of work has gone into developing a world class and industry-leading facility. The opening has created hundreds of new jobs, too.”