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Jet2 denies ‘Lazy Brits’ comments attributed to CEO Steve Heapy

‘Reports being circulated are categorically not the views of Mr Heapy or our proudly UK-based company’ said the airline

Lucy Thackray
Friday 03 June 2022 14:04 BST
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Jet2’s chief executive, Steve Heapy, pictured with his team at Bristol airport
Jet2’s chief executive, Steve Heapy, pictured with his team at Bristol airport (Jet2)

The holiday company and airline Jet2 has denied that its boss Steve Heapy blamed the present travel disruption on “lazy Brits who live off benefits and sit on their arses” at yesterday’s meeting of aviation leaders.

The Sun this morning reported that the comments had been made at yesterday’s meeting between Department for Transport ministers and airlines bosses to try to resolve the chaos seen at UK airports during the past month. It said the comments were “rumoured” to have been made by the Jet2 CEO.

However, Jet2 says these are “categorically not” the views of either Heapy or the wider company.

The company also emphasised its record of zero cancellations during the past few weeks, attributing its success to a “proactive recruitment strategy”.

A Jet2.com and Jet2holidays spokesperson said: “As a UK airline and tour operator that has, unlike others, not made any cancellations thanks to our proactive recruitment strategy, we are extremely proud of our hardworking British colleagues who continue to deliver award-winning customer service for UK customers every day.

“During a meeting with government and industry on Friday, Mr Heapy expressed his frustrations with the current employment market - as Brexit has taken hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people out of the job market and that is having an impact on many industries, including ours. To clarify, the other reports being circulated are categorically not the views of Mr Heapy or our proudly UK-based company.”

The same report suggested that airline leaders had said that prospective British employees did not show up to job interviews or take the process seriously.

Some airline bosses at the meeting are understood to have asked for powers to hire staff, visa-free, from European countries - a request which transport secretary Grant Shapps rejected.

The Department for Transport and the aviation industry have set up a group to discuss mitigating travel issues ahead of the summer holidays.

Privately, bosses have questioned why some – including chefs and ballet dancers – are entitled to a skilled worker visa, while aviation employees are not.

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