Thomas Cook earnings pushed lower by terrorism in Turkey and Brussels

Emma Haslett
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Volcanic Cloud Causes Disruption To German Airports
The airline's summer bookings were down five per cent (Source: Getty)

Thomas Cook's earnings fell in the third quarter, after terrorism in Turkey and Brussels put people off going on holiday.

The figures

Revenues fell eight per cent to £1.85bn in the three months to the end of June, as bookings for Summer 2016 fell five per cent (although excluding Turkey from that figure, they actually rose eight per cent). That means its summer programme is now 81 per cent sold for the group, down three per cent from the same period last year.

Underlying profit from operations hit £2m, down from £30m last year.

There was a bit of good news: bookings to the Canary Islands rose 18 per cent in Summer 2016, while bookings to the Balearics rose 11 per cent and to the US, it rose 30 per cent.

Still, net debt rose to £515m, up from £392m in during the same period last year.

Shares were up 7.3 per cent at 64.36p in early trading. Which gives some indication of what investors had expected...


Why it's interesting

What with terrorism, the falling pound and airline strikes, it's fair to say the travel sector has been buffetted in recent months.

Even before the coup in Turkey, Thomas Cook had been seeking to reduce its presence in Turkey, instead moving its focus to Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, the USA, and Cuba.

Still - it's clear Britons are feeling the squeeze. Bookings in the UK were down one per cent from last year, although package holiday pricing rose two per cent on last year, which Thomas Cook put down to a "better quality product and a shift away from cheaper destinations".

The good news was that the Brexit vote has had "no noticeable impact so far" - although it's worth pointing out that the results only cover a week after the results of the EU referendum were announced, so don't don't factor in much of the subsequent fall in sterling.

What Thomas Cook said

Peter Fankhauser, the company's chief executive, said:

Our financial result in the third quarter was in line with our expectations when we last reported in May, following the impact of the attack on Brussels airport in March and continued weak customer demand for Turkey, which has affected Airlines Germany in particular.

Since the half year, we've taken action to further reduce our capacity to Turkey and increased sales of holidays to other areas... We are operating in a challenging geopolitical environment, with repeated disruption in some of our key source and destination markets.

In short

Not an easy time to be a travel operator, but Thomas Cook remains optimistic.

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