Thomas Cook UK and Continental Europe boss Peter Fankhauser today hailed “a very significant improvement” in the UK business.

Fankhauser described the UK as “the stand out performer” as Thomas Cook reported an increase in third-quarter operating profit and in underlying profits for the 12 months to June.

And he said bookings through independent agents had contributed to the turnaround.

Fankhauser reported strong bookings in the lates market “most notably in the UK and Germany” and said: “Thomas Cook is taking market share.”

He added: “We expect the strong demand we are seeing in late bookings to continue.”

Fankhauser told Travel Weekly: “We are happy with how we are doing. We think we have taken some share – both direct and through third-party agents.

“We are nicely supported by independent agents.”

Referring to today’s third-quarter results showing an underlying profit of £33 million for the three months to June, he said: “It represents our eighth consecutive quarter of improving results and real proof of the huge progress we have made in driving transformation of the business.”

“Our stand out performer was the UK which doubled its profit. We’ve seen a very significant improvement in the UK on margin.

Fankhauser declined to go into detail on UK late bookings but said: “We see improved trading.

“The performance is all the more reassuring because it has been achieved in the face of market disruption, both in Egypt and by a 6% increase in air capacity [overall] and a 10% increase on certain routes.

He noted “a significant year-on-year increase in consumer confidence” and said: “We are on track to deliver what we promised. We are very pleased. The business is much stronger.”