Airtours has reported GBP 147.4million (USD 209m) in operating profits before some exceptional expenses and e-commerce expenses.
The company enjoyed a 57% rise in annual operating profits, before exceptional items, for the year to 30 September, although Pre-tax profits have dropped from GBP 211.4m to GBP 81.3m Airtours also confirmed that 1,600 jobs have been cut group-wide in the wake of 11 September.
Commenting on the results, David Crossland, Chairman of Airtours plc, said: “The year to 30 September 2001 has been very successful for the Airtours Group and I am very pleased to report that it was not only a year of recovery but also a year of record profits. There were very strong performances from our market leading businesses in the UK and Scandinavia and, in North America, TSI improved its underlying profits by 40%. We demonstrated our ability to turn around underperforming areas of our operations. Progress in Germany has been particularly impressive, with underlying results improved by 77%, while our North American charter business returned to profitability.”
Chief executive Tim Byrne said the job losses were unavoidable and blamed the terrorist attacks on the US. “It was absolutely directly to do with 11 September. We felt it was a prudent and necessary measure,” he said.
Airtours has seen an 8% fall in bookings for the winter 2001/2002, Mr Crossland added. “Although the outlook for the leisure travel industry this year is uncertain, and in the light of our record performance, growth this year will be challenging, but by the summer of 2002, there should be a recovery. Airtours has approximately 27,000 employees.
The group, which owns the Airtours airline and the Going Places travel agencies, will also change its name to My Travel Group subject to shareholders agreement. “The Airtours name has served us well and will continue to do so as our largest tour operating brand, Airtours Holidays, but there are enormous benefits from aligning the plc name with our new distribution brand,” said chairman David Crossland.