Tui Group’s boss has all but ruled out making a bid for Thomas Cook’s airline interest.
In a call to detail Tui Group’s half-year results, chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “I don’t want to exclude things 100%, but our strategy and vision is very clear.”
Joussen indicated airlines were not part of Tui’s acquisition strategy.
“Strategically, our investment is destination experiences and digital platforms, not necessarily in-country consolidation," he said.
"Here and there we might see things, but it would not be big-scale, the focus is different.”
Thomas Cook’s aviation division, including its UK arm, is up for sale, with Lufthansa Group already confirming interest in Condor – Thomas Cook’s German carrier – along with an option to buy the UK arm.
“It would be a competitor less and maybe not bad for the German market,” Joussen said, although he added there would be regulatory issues.
He also quashed rumours Tui was examining an investment in Canada’s Air Transat.
“I would say not very likely,” he said.
Joussen added there was over-capacity in the airline market in Europe, particularly to Spain, but said the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX was “not a silver bullet” to solve the problem.
Tui has 15 MAXs and another eight on order, spread throughout its UK and European operation.
“If you just take out capacity, you lose slots," he added. "It’s not that easy; many of the aircraft are half sold – you can’t just take out aeroplanes.
"We have one very clear priority – keep the flight plan stable and get our customers on their holiday.”