Jet2 has hailed a resurgence in overseas travel and robust demand for package holidays but blamed airport delays and disruption for a £50 million cost hit.

The firm saw its share price sink by more than a 10th after announcing its chairman would be stepping down after 40 years at the helm.

Jet2, based in Yeadon, said its revenues reached more than £5 billion in the year to the end of March, up from £1.2 billion in 2022, and 40 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

It returned to a profit before tax of £371 million after sinking to a loss of £389 million last year, which was still affected by pandemic restrictions.

The end of Covid lockdowns “unleashed an enormous surge of pent-up demand” for experiences like overseas holidays, the company said.

Package holidays – where people book flights, hotels, transfers and dining with one provider – are a “resilient and popular product, particularly during difficult economic times”, Jet2 said.

People booking packages made up a much greater share of total customers last year, while the proportion of flight-only passengers declined.

The price of the average package holiday went up by a 10th year-on-year, from £689 to £761, Jet2 revealed.

This was driven by extra numbers booking more expensive destinations, as well as prices going up amid strong demand.

However, Jet2 said it took a £50 million hit in delay and compensation costs throughout the year as a result of disruption across the aviation sector last summer.

The hold-ups were “primarily due to the lack of planning and preparedness of many airports and associated suppliers”, the company said.

Travel last summer was marred by flight cancellations due to staff shortages at several major airports, also leading to long queues for security checks and big build-ups at baggage-handling areas.

But Jet2 said it was the only UK airline not to cancel a flight during July and August last year.

Meanwhile, the holiday giant revealed that its executive chairman Philip Meeson will be stepping down from the company’s board.

Mr Meeson bought the business in 1983 as a small cargo carrier and grew it into Britain’s largest package holiday provider.

He said he remains confident in the outlook of the group, “but I am conscious of my age and the need to plan an orderly succession”.

The 75-year-old Yorkshire businessman is set to move to non-executive chairman and remain in the role until a successor is appointed.

Shares in Jet2 fell by more than 10 per cent on Thursday.