TUI Travel says ash cloud costs group 90 million pounds

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British tourism operator TUI Travel on Tuesday said that travel chaos caused by the volcanic ash cloud had cost the group 90 million pounds (105 million euros, 133.5 million dollars).

The news came as TUI Travel announced in an earnings statement that its net losses had narrowed slightly to 319 million pounds in the six months to the end of March.

"We estimate the impact (of the ash cloud) to be around 90 million pounds, which will be separately identified in the third quarter," TUI Travel said.

Group chief executive Peter Long added: "Whilst the volcanic ash cloud caused unprecedented disruption in April, booking volumes have improved in May and our customers continue to place great value on their main summer holiday.

"Despite the impact of the disruption, I expect positive momentum in the second half of the year as strong underlying demand improves trading and merger synergies continue to be delivered.

"Excluding the impact from the volcanic ash disruption, I remain confident that we can meet the board's original expectations for 2010," Long added.

TUI Travel has also been suffering losses owing to the recent economic downturn and on costs linked to its creation in late 2007 after the merger of British travel group First Choice and the tourism activities of German travel giant TUI.

© 2010 AFP

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