The Thomas Cook Group is on course to meet its financial targets for the current year despite growing fuel costs and a weakening pound against the euro.

Speaking as he announced the group’s six month results for the period ending March 31, chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said the operator remains on track to achieve merger synergies of €200 million by 2008/09.

He said this had been achieved through better than expected results following the integration of the two businesses and in spite of the pound falling 15% against the euro since the merger was announced in February 2007.

Fontenla-Novoa added: “I’m delighted with our performance over the winter and we are in a very good position for the summer.

“The rising cost of fuel and translational impact of the fall in sterling against the euro have made our achievement of our euro-dominated results more difficult, but I remain confident that we will achieve our goals for this year.

“For the longer term, our strategy is on track, our merger synergies are coming through and we continue to target €620 million of operating profit in 2009/10.”

In the UK, he said the operator has 18% less holidays for the forthcoming summer season to sell than at this time last year while bookings for winter 2008/09 are 4% ahead of the previous year.