Jet2 and Jet2holidays is offering ‘virtual’ support to agents as its summer programme resumed today with almost 50 flights from seven UK airports.

Departures from Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow, Newcastle and Stansted will be followed by Belfast International and Edinburgh in the coming days.

The UK’s second largest operator is focusing on destinations where travel restrictions have been eased, such as the Canary Islands, Balearics, mainland Spain, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

Cyprus and Portugal are due to be added from August 1, depending on the relaxation of government quarantine rules.

Amsterdam and Krakow in Poland are due to be reintroduced in September.

The company aims to operate to 44 destinations this summer following a long period of Covid-19 shutdown.

New virtual support initiatives are being introduced to help independent agents sell and rebook summer 2020 holidays.

The ‘Virtual Partners 2 Success’ scheme includes:

  • Virtual agency visits and key account meetings – sessions with Jet2holidays’ trade team to stay abreast of the latest data, developments and trends.
  • Virtual Knowledge – a bespoke training programme for agents to help sell holidays to grow their business, understand Covid-19 and what it means for them and their customers, and how to sell and rebook holidays.
  • Virtual Holiday Show – a virtual destination showcase so that agents can entice customers and encourage them to book.

The company has introduced a three-step pledge to get customers back on holiday including on board cleaning, ensuring that resort care is in line with official Covid-19 guidelines, and only travelling to the safest destinations.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We have been saying for some time that the sun will shine again and that when it does, we will be there to take customers away on their well-deserved holidays.

“That day has finally arrived and we were delighted to see our first of flights take off. It is fantastic to be back in the air and recommencing our award-winning flights and package holidays to sunny destinations across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.”

He added: “These have been incredibly uncertain and difficult times for everyone, and we have been very busy looking after our independent travel agency partners and doing the right thing for them.

“We would like to thank them for their valuable support too, which has showed just how strong the partnership with our agency partners is.

“With this welcome news meaning that customers can travel on holiday again, our message is simple – we cannot wait to get back to doing what we do best; working with you so that you can succeed, and taking your customers away on their well-deserved package holidays.”