Jet2 joins calls to rescue high street as travel agents come under threat

Jet2 has joined a number of business voices calling for Britain’s high streets to be saved, as the airline looks to protect its travel agent partners.

Chief executive Steve Heapy told the Press Association the airline has spoken to central and local government in a bid to halt the “erosion” of town centres.

“They need re-engineering,” he said. “You can’t fight the tide of e-commerce, that’s like King Cnut trying to stop the tide coming in but I think there’s still a lot can be done for the high street.”

Despite the rise of online travel bookings, around 25% of Jet2’s package holiday sales still come through independent travel agents.

“Some people do want the reassurance of someone face to face,” he said.

But the channel has come under threat amid declining footfall in town centres, with hundreds closing their doors in recent years.

Almost 700 travel agents were wiped off the high street in 2017, according to research released last year by Local Data Company.

Mr Heapy suggested that business rates and parking costs must both be reviewed in order to save the high street.

“Once we stop the decline of the high street then there will be jobs created all over the place,” he said.