Or could it be that by apportioning blame to the long-running saga, they’re seeking to distract investor attention from the underlying issue? Namely, that changes in consumption patterns pose, if not an existential threat, then a major challenge to conventional travel agents, even those which readily adopted digital platforms.
Nothing but bad news has been coming out of the sector over the past week. The first casualty was TUI Group (TUI), which posted a €287m (£254m) half-year loss, a 34 per cent increase from the comparable period in FY2018, while confirming a potential one-off hit of €300m to full-year results due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Summer bookings were down on the prior year and the gross margin dropped by 190 basis points to a painfully thin 2.3 per cent. Earlier this week, the group launched a last-minute sale of listed breaks in May and June at bargain prices, so the margin squeeze is set to continue.