TIGHT
capacity and cost controls has helped First Choice reduce its winter losses by
£4.7 million to £55.1 million.

The
encouraging performance – for the six months to April 30 – came as the operator
revealed a surge in UK bookings with sales up 15% since the end of May and 26%
over the past three weeks. Cumulative sales are still down 2% on 2003.

Chief
executive Peter Long said the results proved the “robustness of the
business” with its specialist division able to quickly scale back capacity
with limited financial impact.

He
added the company could be set for a decent summer, with capacity in line with
demand.

“Prices and margins are also better than last and
industry supply would appear to be broadly balanced with consumer demand for
package holidays,” he said.