Abta has confirmed it is to probe an online advert highlighting Thomas Cook’s financial difficulties placed by rival Tui Travel.

Tui ran adverts for its First Choice brand under the headline: “No worries about your holiday company and no worries about what you’re spending.”

The advert went on: “Unlike a certain holiday company we could mention, you don’t need to worry about the way we run our business.”

Thomas Cook lodged a complaint to Abta claiming the advert was in breach of the association’s code of conduct, the Financial Times reported.

This was in addition to a complaint against another online ad placed by lowcostholidays which was subsequently withdrawn and which prompted a full apology from its chief executive Paul Evans.

Thomas Cook has not complained about a Thomson print advert but Abta is entitled to investigate it in any case, according to the newspaper.

Thomas Cook said: “Thomas Cook has referred First Choice and lowcostholidays to Abta over online advertising activity which it believes breached the association’s code of conduct.”

Abta said that it was looking into potential breaches of its code of conduct caused by both the Tui print advert for Thomson and the online advert for First Choice. It is also looking into the lowcostholidays ad.

Tui said: “The aim of both the Thomson and First Choice advertising campaigns was to reassure our customers that we, Tui UK & Ireland, are not facing any sort of financial difficulty.

“In the past there has been consumer confusion between our brands and our competitors. So this advertising campaign was meant as a brand reassurance message and to clarify any confusion between the two separate companies.”