Since Thomas Cook collapsed last month, there has been a lot speculation about how the travel industry will be impacted. One company that may benefit from the closure of the firm is its former competitor, TUI.
The two European powerhouses went head to head for decades until Thomas Cook’s liquidation on September 23. The rivalry dates back to TUI’s early days under the form of its predecessor, Thomson Travel. The two companies were both based in the United Kingdom and grew a healthy rivalry in the tight tourism market.
Still standing tall, TUI could now take advantage of the opportunities arising as a result of the recent events. The Independent reports that the company is set to fly an extra two million passengers next year as part of its expansion plans. To fulfill the project, the firm is set to create hundreds of jobs for former Thomas Cook staff. This includes 100 roles for pilots, along with 200 vacancies for cabin crew.
The majority of these extra flights will be operating from airports where Thomas Cook had provided services from. These hubs include the UK cities of Birmingham, Glasgow Manchester and Newcastle. The destinations that are to be served include Greece, Spain, Egypt and Turkey, along with transatlantic routes to Mexico and Florida.
TUI Airways’ managing director, Dawn Wilson is proud of the move, hoping that it will offer comfort for airline staff that were facing anxiety over the last month.
“We are delighted that our additional flying allows us to grow our team of ‘moment makers’ at TUI Airways,” Wilson said, as reported by Liverpool Echo.
“Every year we welcome new cabin crew and pilots and this year is set to be our biggest and best yet. I’m particularly proud to be able to commit to offering over 50 Thomas Cook Captains the opportunity to join TUI Airways and continue to fly customers on their holidays.”
This news comes at a time of hope for Thomas Cook’s former agency staff. Sunderland based, Hays Travel announced that it will buy 555 Thomas Cook stores. This purchase could save up to 2,500 jobs, providing further security for the welfare of workers currently in limbo.
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Customers have also received some positive news with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launching a website to help process refund applications.
TUI will be hoping that its expansion will help it recover the €144 million ($158 million) it lost due to the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The airline has been hoping to use part of the range to operate flights to London Gatwick from April 2020. However, the aircraft type is yet to be given the green light to operate again.
Despite TUI’s ambition to expand, other European airlines have also been competing over Thomas Cook’s former operations. International Airlines Group (IAG), Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air have all expressed interest in using Thomas Cook’s vacant airport slots.
TUI is up against tough competition when it comes to increasing its market share. Ultimately, with steps taken to provide security for crew members, TUI will also be looking to take more chances now that the landscape of travel has changed.
How do you think TUI will respond to Thomas Cook’s collapse? Let us know in the comment section.