Increased activity at Condor helps ailing Thomas Cook

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Increased activity at its German airline, Condor, helped boost first-quarter revenue by 3% to £1.8 billion ($2.9 billion) against the same period last year at holiday operator Thomas Cook Group.

However, margins were hit by increased fuel costs in the quarter of £34 million, the company said in an interim management statement for the period ending 31 December 2011.

Its operational loss grew to £119 million, from £62.4 million in the same period in 2010, with a pre-tax loss of £151.7 million, against £99.3 million previously.

Condor has grown capacity, it said, "which reflects greater short-haul aircraft productivity and growth in our long-haul business". However, yields on short- and medium-haul operations are under pressure "as a result of competitive pressure", it said. Although yields have risen on long-haul routes, by around 3%, "they are not, however, sufficient to fully recover fuel cost increases".

Condor's capacity has risen by 7%, it said, mostly on long-haul routes.

Meanwhile, six aircraft have been removed from its UK airline fleet as part of a previously announced capacity reduction.

That decision was partly driven by the loss of a contract with holiday company Canadian Affair. Two of the leased Airbus A330-200s used for that work - G-OJMB and G-TCXA - have since been taken on by Canadian charter airline Air Transat and re-registered as C-GTSI and C-GTSJ, respectively, again undertaking flights for Canadian Affair.