‘Uncertain times’ for Thomas Cook after wave of terror attacks

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The boss of holiday firm Thomas Cook said he had never experienced such “unprecedented” disruption in his 30-year career after the deadly terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Egypt and Paris.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said while Paris was not a major market for the group, the attacks in the city have hit consumer confidence.

He said it was too early to put a figure on the financial impact of flight suspensions to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt after the terrorist bombing of a Russian airliner last month.

But the group revealed the hit so far from the cancellation of holidays to Tunisia after the beach and hotel terrorist attacks in June, which cost it £130 million in sales in its year to September 30, with underlying earnings impacted by around £22 million.

Leeds couple Christopher and Sharon Bell were among 38 people killed by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui in the resort of Sousse in June.

Tunisia holidays still remain suspended for most markets, while airlines including Thomas Cook are meeting with the Department of Transport to discuss flight bans to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Mr Fankhauser said the group had “confronted its mistakes” following the Bobby and Christi Shepherd tragedy.

Bobby and Christi Shepherd, from Wakefield, died while on holiday in Corfu with their parents in October 2006.

The youngsters, aged six and seven, were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a faulty boiler and died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island.

An inquest into their deaths earlier this year found the tour operator had “breached their duty of care”, and the hearing ruled they had been unlawfully killed.

Mr Fankhauser said: “In my 30 years I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

He added: “We operate in uncertain times, however we also know that when consumers want to travel, they recognise the greater security that tour operators like ourselves can offer.”