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Tui sees further costs from airport chaos but cheers ongoing bookings recovery

Holiday giant Tui Group has said it was hit by further costs of the summer flight chaos at airports in its final quarter, but said the disruption has eased and bookings continue to rebound.

The group said while there remained some issues at airports, these had improved throughout the three months to the end of September.

It revealed last month that the airport disruption, which led to widespread flight cancellations and
lengthy delays across the industry, had cost it 75 million euros (£66 million) in the three months to the end of June.

Tui did not give a figure for the hit in its final quarter, except to say that “flight disruption costs remain at elevated levels but continued to improve through the fourth quarter”.

The firm also added that its markets and airlines arm remained “significantly profitable” despite the airport woes.

It stuck by its guidance for the group to return to underlying profit over the full year, with winter bookings at 78% of pre-pandemic levels.

Bookings have rebounded to 81% of pre-Covid levels for November and December, it said.

Average selling prices are 26% higher for holidays over the winter season, which marks a further pick up from the 18% price increase over the summer versus 2019.

It has seen UK bookings bounce back “well above” levels seen before the pandemic struck, while overall demand across the group was 91% of 2019.

Tui said the trend for holidaymakers to spend more on their holidays should help shield it from the current cost hikes.

Tui plane
Tui said the Canaries, the Balearics, Greece and Turkey continue to be popular holiday destinations (PA)

Chief executive Fritz Joussen and chief financial officer and incoming boss Sebastian Ebel said: “The trend has been towards higher value or longer holidays with a higher overall holiday budget.

“This is encouraging and shows the current importance of holidays and travel experiences in the post-Corona era.”

Its update showed summer bookings in the UK by number were 4% above 2019 levels.

The Canaries, the Balearics, Greece and Turkey continue to be popular holiday destinations, it added.

It said: “We are pleased to see flight disruption, predominately experienced in the UK throughout May and June, improve through the fourth quarter, although still at elevated levels.”

Airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick told airlines to cut their flight schedules following scenes of chaos as staff shortages left them struggling to cope with the sudden ramping up of demand for overseas holidays.

Holidaymakers suffered flight delays and cancellations along with lengthy queues as airports struggled with baggage handling, air traffic control and security.

Tui said last month it would be seeking compensation from airports for the disruption and cost hit.