This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.
About 75 new jobs will be created at one of East Midlands Airport’s biggest airlines as it continues to grow its presence, according to its boss.
Jet2.com , the biggest tour operator in the region and second largest airline behind Ryanair, will take its workforce at the airport to nearly 600 people ahead of the summer season as it continues to add new routes.
Turkey has become the latest growing market, with a new route added to Bodrum and extra flights to Dalaman and Antalya this year.
It takes the number of sun, city and ski destinations to 36.
Managing director Phil Ward, speaking as the airline celebrated its 15th birthday this week, said: “This year we will carry in excess of one million passengers from East Midlands Airport (EMA), which is a very substantial and important airport for us.
“It’s well-connected with the M1 and East Midlands Parkway railway station, and we’ll grow steadily rather than dramatically.
“We have 36 destinations from EMA this year and think we have a good spread that we’ll continue to serve at good frequencies.
“Over the past 15 years, we've proven we’re a good, stable and reliable operator that offers excellent customer service.
“We’re very financially stable and are committed to being at EMA for a long time to come.”
Jet2.com first landed at the Castle Donington Airport in 2010, when it had four planes stationed there and 150 staff.
Since then, it has added three more planes – with capacity also served by aircraft in Alicante and Palma – and flown 4.5 million passengers, at 93 percent capacity, to destinations including Budapest, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Faro, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Prague, Salzburg, Tenerife and Verona.
It is also set to quadruple its original number of employees in the region with the latest recruitment drive, with jobs including pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and check-in and ramp staff.
EMA managing director Andy Cliffe has previously spoken about how he would like to see routes created from the region to major airport hubs like Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels.
Jet2.com previously served Paris but it was passed on to Flybe, before it was later dropped.
Mr Ward said his airline would not be focusing on those routes that carry more business passengers.
“We tried Paris but it needed a smaller airplane and ours are quite big. A destination like that needs the right style of carrier.
“Our focus is about sending people from the cold of England to the sunshine of the Mediterranean, and that’s where we want to grow the market.”
Terrorist attacks in 2016 and 2017 had threatened Turkey’s position as a favoured holiday destination for Brits, but Mr Ward said it remained more popular than Egypt and Tunisia, where attacks have also taken place in recent years.
“Egypt and Tunisia haven’t really been re-established,” he said. “Turkey is a good quality and value destination.
“We’re seeing a recovery in the Turkish market in the past year – it’s a popular place for people who have already experienced Spain, the Canary Islands and Greece.
“But for me it’s not just about the new destinations. You can have a lot of dots on the map but they have to make money and we fly to the right destinations that people want to fly to.
“We’ve seen the winter market grow as the idea of a short or city break is certainly back on people’s radar.”
Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The airport plays a vital role in the region’s success, providing key links to export destinations and making it easy for our businesses to service existing clients on a global scale and chase new markets.
“It is also a key link in providing both inbound and outbound tourism, so the non-business routes are as important to the local economy as those used by the business community.”
Jet2.com customers and staff, including some employees who worked at the airline on its very first day of operations, were joined by popstar Peter Andre for a morning of celebration at Leeds Bradford Airport on Monday (February 12) to mark the company’s 15 birthday.
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