Tui sees the company’s own aircraft fleet now better equipped after the savings decisions and Corona break-ins, but still takes time on the subject of government aid repayment. The world’s largest travel company could earn more money in the summer and become more resilient, said CFO Sebastian Ebel the news agencies dpa and dpa-AFX.
At the moment, however, it is not yet possible to predict exactly when parts of the billions in tax-financed loans will flow back. Even before the pandemic, there was expensive overcapacity in the flight market. “The size of the fleet that we have today with our five airlines in Europe is certainly appropriate,” said Ebel. He considers the number of machines reduced from 35 to 22 for the German Tuifly to be sufficient.
The jets make feeder flights to Tui destinations and cruise ships. In the event of peaks in demand, the group books additional places from outside. “When it comes to taking customers to destinations with a longer flight time, we will need our own aircraft,” explained Ebel. “After Mallorca we basically don’t need this because we can easily buy the seats we need from others.”
Dreamliner ideas in the drawer
Before the Corona crisis, Tuifly was shortly before the start of a small long-haul fleet in which the Boeing “Dreamliner” was to be used. The Tui chief financial officer estimates that this should not be the case in the years to come. “To the east, the market is very well supplied with Qatar, Singapore and Emirates.” For the old plans in the direction of the Caribbean, the following applies: “From today’s perspective, we would not be doing ourselves a favor because we can bring our guests there very well with other quality airlines. If they no longer serve us well, we have Airlines have good opportunities, and Tuifly could set that up in a short time. “
The business, which almost failed in 2020, threatened the very existence of Tui, and the state and private owners stepped in with syringes in the billions. While Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr is preparing a capital increase after a year with a record loss and wants to repay aid before the federal election, Tui does not want to put pressure on himself with such an announcement. “When is the right time to start the first repayments, I would not like to commit,” said Ebel. It’s not just about what is possible, but also about which step makes sense when: “When you build and finance a house, you think twice about whether to return your overdraft facility credit line to your current account.”
In spring 2020, Tui had asked the federal government for financial aid for good reason: “The money was really necessary (…) that was rescue in an emergency that was not self-inflicted,” said Ebel. “Now we want to further expand our stability looking ahead.” The group is “doing so well again” that the state does not currently have to be asked to exchange the subscribed convertible bond for shares. In addition, the state has a silent participation in Tui.
Farewells and prospects
The sale of larger company parts has largely been completed. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises was integrated into the joint venture Tui Cruises operated with Royal Caribbean. According to Ebel, the idea was that the remaining 50 percent in Hapag-Lloyd two years after the sale would be worth as much as the 100 percent before – “but we no longer have to provide the financing”. Such a deal could be repeated with the British Tui line Marella. “But we’ll wait until Marella has a good normal fiscal year again.”
Tui also gave up its stake in a real estate company belonging to the Spanish hotel chain Riu. Participation in Riu itself is not up for grabs, stressed Ebel.