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Winter is ‘a little problematic’ says TUI

TUI has described trading for the current winter season is “a little problematic”, but group chief executive Fritz Joussen insisted he foresees no problem with UK flights post-Brexit.

The TUI Group reported a full-year profit of €819 million, despite a 10% fall in pre-tax earnings year on year to €971 million.

Joussen hailed it as “a very good year” despite it being “challenging”. He told Travel Weekly: “It must have been a challenging year because everybody had a profit warning – Thomas Cook, the low-cost carriers, consumer companies.

“We saw it was challenging a little bit in our tour operator as well, but that is only 30% of our profits.”

TUI’s hotel and cruise subsidiaries now account for 70% of group profits, with Joussen insisting TUI’s “transformation from a traditional tour operator is paying off”.

However, he reported group bookings for this winter down 1% year on year to early December, with average selling prices down 2%.

Joussen said: “Winter is a little problematic. The first quarter [to December] will not be good year on year, and the second quarter [to March] will also be difficult.

“In the UK, winter bookings are up but margins are contained.”

He noted: “Easter is in the second half of the year [in April] so there are some challenges in the winter quarters, but the summer quarters will be very attractive.”

Yet he insisted a no-deal Brexit “should not be a problem” when it comes to flying.

Joussen said: “First, there is the ownership and control – we are very positive about that. Second are the flying rights.

“But let’s say Jamaica has an agreement [on flying rights] with the EU but not with the UK. When we bring our [Boeing] 787s to Jamaica, no one will say we can’t fly there. Practically, it is not difficult.”

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