Thomas Cook cuts losses, says sorry over Corfu deaths

20th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

British travel firm Thomas Cook on Wednesday announced a reduction in first-half losses, as its chief executive belatedly apologised for its handling of a family tragedy in Corfu that badly hit its reputation.

Losses after tax stood at £302 million ($469 million, 421 million euros) in the six months to the end of March compared with a net loss of £364 million during Thomas Cook's first half one year earlier.

Revenue slid nine percent to £2.742 billion over the period, the company said in a statement.

Thomas Cook has faced calls on social media for a boycott over the way it dealt with the deaths of two British children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on one of its holidays on the Greek island of Corfu in 2006.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser used the occasion of the company's results to apologise for the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, which have attracted huge media attention in Britain following a recent inquest.

"I'm deeply sorry as a father myself about the tragic deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd in 2006 on a Thomas Cook holiday," he told a press conference.

"It's absolutely clear that there are things we as a company could have done better during the last nine years -- in particular how we have conducted our relationship with the family," he said.

An inquest into the children's deaths, caused by fumes from a faulty boiler, concluded last week that the travel firm had breached its duty of care.

It also emerged in recent days that Thomas Cook received about £3.0 million compensation from the hotel chain concerned, while the family received a much lower sum.

Thomas Cook has said it would donate £1.5 million to UN children's agency UNICEF, while the remaining money went to its insurers for underwriting legal fees.

The children's parents said that they were not consulted by Thomas Cook about the donation.

© 2015 AFP

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