Spanish Government entrusts salvation of the summer to Jet2
Of the almost 84 million international tourists that Spain received in 2019, just over 18 million were British, most of whom visited Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. It is the main issuing market and, therefore, a tourist market very desired by Spain since the Government decided to open its borders on July 1st, so now negotiations and meetings with British tour operators are intensifying.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, met by videoconference with the tour operator Jet2 Holidays, a company unknown to most Spaniards, but which each year brings thousands of English people to spend the summer in the coasts of our country.
According to Ministry sources, it was a private meeting, for which they are not offering any details at the moment. Although it is true, the objective is clear: attract British tourists and do it in record time. Only five weeks remain for the Spanish borders to open to foreigners.
Last year alone, its airline (Jet2.com) transported just over 8 million passengers to Spain (11% more than in 2018), making it the ninth busiest airline in the country, according to statistical data from Aena.
Admittedly, it's far from Ryanair's 50 million, but not so far behind Norwegian's 8.9 million.
In its attempt to attract the British, the Government has a small setback that will make the negotiation three-way between the Spanish Executive, Jet2 and the British Government.
The situation is as follows: the British have imposed 14 day quarantine for anyone entering the UK, whether tourists or residents; something that could stop its citizens from travelling abroad if they must quarantine when they return home.
Hence the importance of the agreements that Spain is seeking in the rest of Europe to claim the entire tourism sector: "It is about reaching agreements and being prepared for what happens," says Carlos Abella, secretary general of the Tourism Board.
BALEARIC AND CANARY ISLANDS:
It is not the first, or the last time, that Spain has met this company, in late April, the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, had a meeting with the CEO of Jet2, Steve Heapy, to discuss plans for the tourism sector and the company's forecasts for the Islands.
The company offered 1.5 million seats to the archipelago in 2019 and was planning, before the outbreak of the coronavirus, to increase its seats them by 22% this year. In fact, they have announced that they will start operations again on July 1st to several Spanish destinations. Tickets for Lanzarote and Fuerteventura can now be purchased on their website; in addition to Girona, Ibiza or Alicante.
And if we look only a few months ago, with the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook in September 2019, Mallorca also resorted to his help reinforce their destination with the airline's flights. Something they did in the Canary Islands, when Jet2.com took advantage of their bankruptcy to add more than 50,000 extra seats to Tenerife from Belfast and Birmingham, while for Lanzarote they programmed 40,000 more seats from various UK destinations.
So it is precisely the situation of some airlines, or the crises in some countries that has allowed the take off of this British low cost airline. Just five years ago, the company transported just over three million passengers to Spain.
It was not among the top 10 airlines in Spain. Paradoxically, it was behind airlines such as Monarch and Air Berlin, two of the streams that have left a gap in the market from which this airline has benefited.
Jet2 is a tour operator little known by the Spanish, as the group is made up of the airline (Jet2.com) and the tour operator Jet2Holidays, through which they take advantage to sell holiday packages. Both belong to the British conglomerate Dart Group.
The airline started its activity in 2002, although its first flight was in 2003. It is considered the third largest airline in the United Kingdom, flying from its nine bases in the UK to more than 60 destinations in Europe with a fleet of 100 aircraft.
Since its inception, the company has continued to launch routes between the United Kingdom and Spain, taking advantage of the pull of the British market. Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Mallorca, and Reus, are some of the destinations you can fly to in our country to, at very cheap prices.