Leisure group TUI is applying for state-aid guarantees to support its business until it can restore normal operations, after suspending most of its travel operations.

TUI says it is halting the “vast majority” of its package travel, cruise and hotel activities to assist with the efforts to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

The company has cash and available facilities of around €1.4 billion, it says, and it is taking “substantial” cost measures to limit the impact on earnings.

“We have decided to apply for state aid guarantees to support the business until normal operations are resumed,” it adds.

TUI’s executive board has withdrawn its financial guidance for the full year 2020.

Coronavirus had not been mentioned at all in a TUI investor presentation just a month ago, on 17 February, when the company was detailing its outlook for the year.

At the time the Boeing 737 Max grounding had been the primary concern, given that Boeing had not expected the grounding to be lifted before mid-2020.

But TUI had been upbeat in its outlook, citing stronger trading with higher booking figures and increased take-up of the summer capacity, and it was forecasting underlying earnings of €850 million to €1.05 billion.