TUI Travel expects serious losses over Egypt

TUI Travel, Europe’s leading travel company, is bracing for immense losses due to the riots in Egypt.TUI Austria, the German company’s Austrian subsidiary, announced today (Thurs) that the whole company is expecting to make a loss of between 29 million and 35 million Euros in the first quarter of 2011 due to the thousands of cancelled journeys to Egypt.Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in the North African country’s largest cities to force the current regime to resign.Citizens have called for more democracy and fair elections in the country which has long been one of the most popular holiday destinations for Austrians. Dozens of people have been killed in fights as the situation in the country is getting more and more insecure and unclear.Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei travelled from Vienna to Cairo some days ago to join the masses demonstrating against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his government in the country’s capital city. ElBaradei headed the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1997 and 2009.The Austrian foreign ministry issued a general travel warning for the whole of Egypt on Friday.TUI Travel recently decided to stop offering vacations in Egypt until 14 February. Austrians who booked a TUI Austria trip to Egypt can rebook or cancel the holiday without any extra costs.TUI Austria rival Verkehrsbüro Group said only recently that it had recorded a 25 per cent year on year rise of bookings for holidays in Egypt in 2010. The firm runs 125 Ruefa travel offices across Austria.Meanwhile, the Austrian army is carrying out evacuation flights to return Austrian citizens home from Egypt.Defence ministry official Peter Barthou said today that a Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft departing from Luxor landed at Vienna International Airport (VIA) at 11pm last night. Sixty-two holidaymakers and people working in Egypt were on board the plane, he explained. Barthou said 59 of them were Austrians.The transfer was the latest in a series of evacuation flights by the Austrian military. Another flight is scheduled for later today.