THOMSON has quashed fears it could force prices down
in September because of excess capacity.
The news comes as sources indicate MyTravel is to add
limited capacity in the summer season on short-haul routes as peak bookings
continue to prove buoyant.
But Thomson’s rivals claimed they were still concerned
it could “drag down the market” in September and said the operator had already
forced prices down in May and June because it failed to cut enough capacity.
“I do not expect Thomson to lose its nerve in the
summer but I am concerned about September and October because of the capacity
it has left,” said a source at one of the big four operators.
Operators such as Cosmos have already warned rivals to
guard against excess capacity in September.
But TUI commercial director Derek Jones said the fears
Thomson traditionally has more capacity than rivals in
September because it tends to get better sales from its core couples customer
base, while in October it is easier to change capacity, added Jones. “September
has always been a peak month for Thomson.
“Yes we have lots of capacity left to sell, but we
would not sell it at prices we are not happy with,” he said.
Meanwhile, prices for July and August are up on last
year. Airtours, for example, is thought to be selling brochured holidays for an
average £100 more than last year.