UK flight disruption worst in Europe in months, says Tui | Tui Travels

According to Tui, the UK flight disruption was the worst in Europe in recent months, while Manchester was the worst-hit airport, with the travel operator reporting a 75 million euro hit ( £63m) due to air traffic chaos.

“We’ve had significant challenges and disruptions, especially on the UK side,” said Sebastian Ebel, Tui’s new chief executive, who will take over in early October.

“We have never invested so much in reserve aircraft, in wet leases [short-term] capacity, in people to take the calls,” Ebel said.

He said the company had not anticipated such levels of disruption as consumer demand for overseas vacations rebounded in the spring after coronavirus travel restrictions were lifted.

Tui blamed labor shortages for the difficulties in Manchester and added that there had also been disruptions at Amsterdam airport, which are continuing.

“There were airports that were much worse than others, and it was more or less that the manpower was not available, mainly on security but also sometimes on baggage handling,” said said Ebel.

In May, Tui announced the cancellation of 180 flights from Manchester Airport until the end of June, or six flights a day, as it struggled to send customers to their destinations during the mid school holidays. -session.

The Germany-based company said those cancellations amounted to 1% of its summer schedule. It has previously insisted it has canceled fewer flights than competitors including easyJet and British Airways, and promised customers it has learned from flight delays and cancellations.

Passengers trying to get away on a long-awaited vacation have faced weeks of long queues and canceled takeoffs.

Tui said the disruptions had mostly eased over the past fortnight, saying they were “back to normal” despite the large number of customers going on summer vacation.

It said it got 96% of its customers to their destination on time or less than three hours late in May and June.

Europe’s largest tour operator carried 5.1 million customers between April and June, an 84% increase in passenger numbers from 2019.

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Tui said it would have made a profit in the quarter for the first time since the pandemic had it not been for the 75 million euros hit by the flight disruption.

As a result, it made an underlying pre-tax loss of 27 million euros in the three months to June, instead of a profit of almost 50 million euros.

Declaring the “crisis” in tourism caused by the pandemic over, Ebel said the business remains optimistic about the future despite pressure on consumer incomes.

“We are cautious on capacity…but overall we are seeing stable demand in a tougher environment,” Ebel said.

Mary I. Bruner