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Jet2 targets Ryanair stronghold with six Boeing 737s at Stansted

[LONDON] British discount airline Jet2 will station six new Boeing Co 737-800 jetliners at London Stansted airport, opening its first base outside the northern UK and taking on Ryanair Holdings Plc in its own backyard.

The move will see Jet2 serve 21 European leisure destinations, with the first flights commencing March 30, putting it on a par with EasyJet Plc, the Leeds-Bradford airport-based carrier said in a statement Wednesday.

Jet2, a unit of Dart Group Plc, last year placed an order for 30 737-800s with a list price of US$2.9 billion, the first of which arrived this month. The carrier operated a fleet 63 planes this summer, comprising 737s and long-range 757s.

Stansted becomes the ninth base for Jet2, which has previously operated from locations such as Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. Dublin-based Ryanair, for which Stansted is the No 1 hub, has said it will deploy 50 jets due for delivery this year to markets outside the UK in light of an anticipated travel slump following Britain's vote to quit the European Union.

Dart shares rose 3.4 per cent and traded 1.8 per cent higher at 422.50 pence as of 8:39am in London. That pares the stock's decline this year to 28 per cent, reducing the company's market value to £625 million (S$1.11 billion) .

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