Jet2.com pioneers a new approach to in-flight retail with new Middlewich site
The Retail Operations Centre is the first of its kind in the UK
Jet2.com has officially opened a multi-million pound Retail Operations Centre, the first centre of its kind in the UK aviation industry, which sets new standards for Customer-First service, efficiency and security.
During Summer 22, airlines faced supplier disruption affecting in-flight retail services. Consequently, Jet2.com took the decision to take control over its most critical in-flight retail operations, with the new centre developed to create a strong foundation to deliver its award-winning customer service as well as drive growth.
The 150,000 square foot facility, located in Middlewich, Cheshire, will act as a centre for Jet2.com to stock, manage and distribute millions of in-flight retail products for customers to enjoy on their well-deserved leisure flights. The products being managed include drinks and non-perishable food that can either be pre-ordered or which feature in the airline’s in-flight menu, as well as products that can be bought from the onboard shop, such as fragrances, beauty products, gifts and duty-free.
The Retail Operations Centre is the first of its kind in the UK, as no other UK airline has taken its in-flight retail operations in-house like this. During a typical year, it is expected that more than 25 million items will flow through the centre to be loaded onto the company’s growing fleet of aircraft.
Each day, items will be securely stored, picked and loaded onto thousands of bar carts, with each bar cart being securely screened in just six minutes by passing through one of four Cart X-Ray Scanners that have been installed at the centre. Bar carts will then be distributed to Jet2.com’s UK airport bases by a fleet of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays branded trailers.
Given the nature of the operation, the Retail Operations Centre has been through a strict security process to ensure that it complies with relevant regulations and has been approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
As a result of the opening, 300 new jobs have been created at the Centre, including positions in shift operations, warehouse operations, security and inventory control. Colleagues will work across two shifts at the Centre to ensure it supports Jet2.com’s flying programme around the clock.
Distribution from the facility to UK airport bases will be provided by Wincanton Logistics, whilst the company will use Gate Gourmet as its new Last Mile Provider, to load catering airside.
The company has promoted John Davis to the new position of Director of Retail to lead this area of the business reporting to Adam Mulroy, Commercial & Revenue Director.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “Industry-leading customer service is a critical driver of our continued success, so we are absolutely delighted to be applying that to our in-flight retail operation. The opening of this multi-million pound Retail Operations Centre is a first for UK aviation and we know that this pioneering step will provide the very best service for our customers.”
He added: “This innovation represents a material investment in our operation and an enormous amount of work has gone into developing a world-class and industry-leading facility. The opening has created hundreds of new jobs too, and we are thrilled to welcome our new colleagues and look forward to them playing a critical role as we continue to succeed and grow.”