Thomas Cook rides downturn on mid-haul bookings

Thomas Cook has said it is coping well despite the downturn and swine flu by posting better-than-expected results for the full-year. It also said bookings for both winter and summer were holding up well.

The group, Europe’s second largest tour operator after TUI Travel, citied medium hauls destination such as Turkey and Egypt for boosting its balance sheet.

Underlying pre-tax profits for the year to September were £308.2 million. This was marginally lower than last year (0.4 percent) but ahead of a 3 percent fall predicted by city analysts. Revenues rose 6 percent to £9.3 billion.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said the results were “particularly pleasing as it comes despite the worldwide recession and the financial impact of the swine flu outbreak.”

He added, “Looking ahead our winter 09/10 trading position continues to improve and trend towards our planned capacity. Although it is still early in the cycle, bookings for summer 2010 are also in line with our expectations.”


In the UK particularly, it said, it had seen “encouraging signs” in the past four week for the summer 2010 season, with bookings up 14 per cent and average selling prices up 2 per cent.

Prices for medium and long-haul holidays were up 7 percent overall by cutting back on supply.

The tour operator, which merged with MyTravel, in 2007, said average selling prices in the UK rose 6 percent. It said it had also benefited from a higher-than-expected £125 million cost savings from its MyTravel merger.