TBI warns on profits as MyTravel cuts charter flights

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The Independent Online

TBI, the airport operator, felt the knock-on effects of MyTravel's troubles yesterday, warning profits will be hit by the travel group's decision to cut back on charter flights.

TBI, the airport operator, felt the knock-on effects of MyTravel's troubles yesterday, warning profits will be hit by the travel group's decision to cut back on charter flights.

MyTravel, struggling to turn around huge losses after a disastrous over-expansion plan, is planning to reduce it fleet by nine planes to 21 over the next 18 months, and is likely to scale down its flights from TBI's Cardiff International airport.

TBI, which also owns Luton and Belfast International airports, said it expects pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March to drop by £600,000, and by £2m in 2006, as a result. MyTravel's charter flights represent about a third of Cardiff's charter business. Keith Brooks, the chief executive of TBI, said in the statement: "The board is confident that the majority of the 320,000 holidaymakers potentially affected will still travel from Cardiff International. TBI is currently talking to several airlines about additional traffic opportunities from Cardiff International and will take all steps possible to ensure passenger holiday flight demand is satisfied in full."

According to TBI, the reduced services from Cardiff will take place from the end of October. But MyTravel insisted yesterday that no firm decisions have been made on how and where its cuts will take place, including which staff will be affected or which airport.

TBI said MyTravel's operations through Belfast International would not be affected, but a spokeswoman for MyTravel said all airports were under review. She added: "No customer who has booked a holiday with us will be affected, and even if we withdraw from Cardiff for all but summer flights, we will still book holidays through the airport using third party airlines."

Charter flights account for about half of Cardiff's traffic business, but TBI has been looking to increase its use of low-cost airlines. Last week, Ryanair announced a major expansion plan at TBI's Luton.

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