Germany’s TUI Travel Group has reported an improved performance in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 compared to the previous year, with the five airlines in the group carrying more passengers and seeing higher load factors overall.
The TUI Group reported that the increased customer numbers and higher prices in Q4 2023 helped the company to more than double full-year earnings.
The tour operator said in the three months ended September 30, 2023, revenues rose to €8.48 billion ($9.15 bn) from €7.61 billion ($8.21bn) the year before, with underlying earnings rising to €1.20 billion ($1.3bn) from €1.04 billion ($1.12). This helped lift full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to €977 million ($1,055 bn), which is more than double the previous year’s €409 million ($441bn).
A TUI Group spokesperson said the full-year figure was in line with expectations and supported in the fourth quarter by a continued strong performance across all its holiday segments backed up by further operational improvements made within its airline divisions.
The TUI group of airlines currently consists of five carriers, which together operate around 130 aircraft to over 180 destinations worldwide. The five airlines in the TUI Group are TUI Airways (UK), TUI fly, TUI fly Belgium, TUI fly Netherlands, and TUI fly Nordic (based in Sweden).
The airline’s operating fleets are generally based around the Boeing 737 family for short and medium-haul operations, while the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is largely used for long-haul flights.
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The five airlines together reported a 200,000 increase in customer numbers in Q4 2023 to 7.8 million, with an average load factor of 92% for the quarter. This represents an increase of a single percentage point over last year.
Revenue growth in Q4 was supported by higher volumes resulting from an overall increase in demand and in particular, by higher holiday prices. This lifted full-year revenues to a record €20.7 billion ($22.35bn ), up 25% from the year before.
Looking ahead, the tour operator said that its winter bookings are maintaining their positive momentum supported by higher prices. Despite the ongoing conflicts in Gaza/Israel and Ukraine, forward bookings are up 11% over winter 2022/23.
According to TUI, bookings for summer 2024 are still at an early stage, with just 14% of total seats sold. However, early indications are for a strong summer season ahead, with its own forecasts indicating sales rising sharply to 13% over summer 2023, with average selling prices 4% higher.
TUI Group considers stock exchange switch
The firm also said it is considering delisting in London following talks with shareholders. The company is favoring a switch to listing on the Frankfurt stock market, according to reports.
“The executive board is currently considering if an upgrade to a prime standard listing in Frankfurt and a delisting from the London Stock Exchange would be in the best interest of our shareholders,” the firm said in a statement.
The proposal to de-list from London and transfer to Frankfurt would require 75% of shareholders to vote in favor of the move.
It added there had been “a notable liquidity migration” from the UK to German stock markets in the past four years, and the move could “potentially enhance” the profile of TUI shares. It also said that such a move could help the firm deal with European Union regulations on airline ownership and cut costs.
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