TUI has described trading for the current winter season is “a little problematic”, but group chief executive Fritz Joussen insisted he foresees no problem with UK flights post-Brexit.
The TUI Group reported a full-year profit of €819 million, despite a 10% fall in pre-tax earnings year on year to €971 million.
Joussen hailed it as “a very good year” despite it being “challenging”. He told Travel Weekly: “It must have been a challenging year because everybody had a profit warning – Thomas Cook, the low-cost carriers, consumer companies.
“We saw it was challenging a little bit in our tour operator as well, but that is only 30% of our profits.”
TUI’s hotel and cruise subsidiaries now account for 70% of group profits, with Joussen insisting TUI’s “transformation from a traditional tour operator is paying off”.
However, he reported group bookings for this winter down 1% year on year to early December, with average selling prices down 2%.
Joussen said: “Winter is a little problematic. The first quarter [to December] will not be good year on year, and the second quarter [to March] will also be difficult.
“In the UK, winter bookings are up but margins are contained.”
He noted: “Easter is in the second half of the year [in April] so there are some challenges in the winter quarters, but the summer quarters will be very attractive.”
Yet he insisted a no-deal Brexit “should not be a problem” when it comes to flying.
Joussen said: “First, there is the ownership and control – we are very positive about that. Second are the flying rights.
“But let’s say Jamaica has an agreement [on flying rights] with the EU but not with the UK. When we bring our [Boeing] 787s to Jamaica, no one will say we can’t fly there. Practically, it is not difficult.”
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