Feb 7, 2019

Travel agent Thomas Cook weighs sale of airline as losses widen

UK holiday group Thomas Cook said it plans a "Strategic review" of its airline as it struggles to contend with Brexit uncertainty and high-street weakness in its home market. The UK travel agent said it was considering some consolidation of its airline business, which could mean the sale of the whole airline or part of it. The air unit reported strong growth in 2018, despite facing industry-wide disruption, with 20m passengers and £3.5bn sales while underlying operating profits rose 37 per cent in the year to £129m. "It is clear we need greater financial flexibility and increased resources," the group said of its decision to consider selling its air unit. Group revenue ticked up 1 per cent to £1.7bn for the quarter, led by strong demand for Turkey and north African destinations and offsetting weaker demand for Spain. Thomas Cook shares rose almost 9 per cent after the news on Thursday morning.

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