Omicron hits winter holiday bookings as Tui racks up £2bn more losses

Omicron fears hit winter bookings as holiday firm TUI is forced to consider cutting flights after racking up £2bn more losses

TUI has warned that the Omicron variant is hitting holiday bookings as it racked up a second annual loss of more than £2billion.

The world’s biggest travel company said that sales have slowed and it was considering cutting the number of flights it runs this winter as infection rates rise and new curbs are introduced.

It came as Tui reported a £2.1billion loss for the year to September.

TUI said that sales have slowed and it was considering cutting the number of flights it runs this winter as infection rates rise and new curbs are introduced

TUI said that sales have slowed and it was considering cutting the number of flights it runs this winter as infection rates rise and new curbs are introduced

This was less than in 2020 – when it tumbled £2.7billion into the red – but it showed the extent of the damage wrought by the second wave of the virus.

Revenues slumped around 40 per cent on the prior year to £4billion.

But company bosses were more upbeat about next summer, when they believe that bookings will be back at 2019 levels.

Upbeat: TUI chief executive Fritz Joussen

Upbeat: TUI chief executive Fritz Joussen

Customers are also splashing out more for their holidays, with the average price of a trip next summer 23 per cent higher than before the pandemic.

The company’s chief executive Fritz Joussen said: 昨日: ‘People want to travel and are willing to spend a relatively large amount of money on holidays.’

But the upbeat outlook did little to settle concerns that it will be another bleak winter for the industry.

It was another roller-coaster day for travel industry share prices, with Easyjet, British Airways-owner IAG, Wizz Air and Tui all chalking up heavy losses early in the day.

Easyjet closed 0.7 per cent lower, down 4p to 550.2p, but others reversed the early fall and climbed back into the black.

IAG rose 0.5 per cent or 0.66p, to 142.76p, Wizz Air by 0.4 パーセント, or 16p, to 4472p, while Tui gained 1.8 パーセント, or 3.8p, to 221.3p.

The rapid spread of Omicron, which some evidence suggests is more transmissible than other coronavirus variants, has already led to more restrictions including new requirements for people coming to the UK to take a Covid test before they travel.

The uncertainty surrounding the test and quarantine requirements is likely to deter people from booking last-minute getaways and force others to rearrange trips for later next year.

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, 前記: ‘Many UK holidaymakers, which normally account for the biggest share of Tui’s customer base, are swapping trips abroad for staycations, put off by the constantly changing Government travel restrictions and the high cost of PCR tests.’

Joussen said that the uncertainty over travel restrictions was ‘annoying’. 彼は言った: ‘Overnight you get new rules.

‘You have gone on vacation thinking nothing can happen, then tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people have new rules and that is difficult.’

Tui was planning to run at between 60 パーセントから 80 のパーセント 2019 capacity this winter but has said that it is now likely to be at the lower end of this forecast.

会社, which has around 28m customers, has been forced to turn to the market and governments to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.

It has been bailed out by the German government three times, tapped shareholders for cash and sold off assets – raising around £6.4billion in emergency funds.

The company most recently went to investors to raise £940million in October.

Tui was created in 2014 by the merger of Germany’s Tui AG and Britain’s Tui Travel.

It operates around 1,000 travel agencies, 400 ホテル, 100 planes and 16 cruise ships.

Before the pandemic it employed more than 70,000 people in more than 100 国.

Last year it kicked off a major restructuring that included cutting 8,000 jobs and shutting 166 high street stores in the UK.

It has declined to give any guidance on its profit and revenues for next year.

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