Tui’s chief executive and chairman are due to present the group’s latest state aid and financial stabilisation package to shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today.

The Tui virtual EGM is required for shareholders to agree to proposals which include raising €500 million through a shares issue and an option for Germany’s Economic Support Fund (WSF) to take a stake in the group.

The additional €1.8 billion in aid from the WSF, German state development bank KfW and Tui’s largest shareholder, the Russia-based Mordashov family, was announced on December 2.

It is the third in a series of financial aid packages, coming on top of the €1.2 billion Tui secured in August and €1.8 billion in May.

Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen and chairman Dieter Zetsche will address the shareholders’ meeting.

Ahead of it, Joussen said the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out should “give confidence” and insisted: “We should start 2021 with optimism.”

Speaking in an in-house Tui interview, Joussen argued: “It was right for us to work out a third financial package early, together with shareholders, the banks and the state.

“This will bridge these [winter] months and secure liquidity. The package helps to steer the company through the crisis.”

Joussen said: “If the measures are approved by our shareholders, the maturities of the loans from the first two stabilisation packages will be postponed.

“Debt will not increase as a result. The additional package hardly increases our average [debt] leverage ratio.”

The deal gives the WSF the option of converting one of two loans into shares in Tui.

Joussen said: “Our major shareholders, the banks and the state put it [the financial package] together. This shows clearly the confidence in our business model, the long-term prospects for Tui and tourism as a growth sector.”

He added that once the package is approved, “shareholders will have the opportunity to participate directly in the capital increase”, meaning they can buy more shares.

Joussen repeated a previous claim that 2021 “will be a transition year” and “in 2022 we expect our sector and Tui to return to pre-corona levels”.

In a separate open letter to “guests, partners and friends of Tui” published online, Joussen apologised that “until summer [2020] cancellations and refunds often took much longer than we would have liked”.

He said: “I very much regret that we have had to rely heavily on the patience and flexibility of our guests and partners.

“For this, I apologise to our customers, the staff in travel agencies and our distribution partners.”

Joussen insisted: “Even though we are in the middle of a global second wave of corona, we see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope we will use all opportunities to get back to open borders as soon as possible.”

Tui reported it had €2.5 billion in liquidity available at the end of November following a loss of €3 billion in the 12 months to September.