The boss of leisure airline Jet2.com admitted the future was uncertain after Brexit – but he is positive about a raft of new flights from Birmingham
The early morning departures, which coincided with the start of operations at London Stansted Airport, followed thousands of customer requests for the airline to establish a West Midlands base.
Chief executive Steve Heapy said he was confident the firm was robust enough to withstand any turbulence from Brexit.
He revealed Jet2 had been lobbying the government to make sure the airline and travel industry was not adversely affected by the decision to quit the EU and the implementation of Article 50.
He said: “Like much of the industry we are concerned about the uncertainty. We are still in the dark and no-one really knows what will happen with the negotiations and how these will affect the airline and travel industry.
“However, we are confident we will be able to continue operating to European destinations without any major problems.
“Our focus will remain the same as always which is providing our customers with low fares, a family friendly experience, and real package holidays. That proposition is driving strong demand at our newest base already and we are confident it will make us a resounding success.
“Brexit will not alter this.”
The airline chief added that the move to Birmingham was the start of a strong bond between the tour operator and the city and he pledged the association would go from strength-to-strength with more routes and new destinations, including New York.
He added: “We have invested a lot of time, money and effort into our Birmingham operation and things will grow. We are confident it will be a great success.”
Mr Heapy promised ‘bigger and better’ things to come for the city.
He said: “We will soon be launching our summer 2018 programme for Birmingham and we are very excited about it. We have big plans for 2018 - even though summer 2017 has not even started.”
The company will fly to 23 destinations from Birmingham Airport this summer. More than 200 jobs have been created as a result of the link-up, which will see 57 weekly flights operating at peak times.