Thomas Cook and Cooperative Group announced they will merge their travel businesses to create the largest travel agency in the UK (BBC News/RTE Business, 08-Sep-2010). The merger will bring together 1,204 stores and create a new joint subsidiary to be 70% owned by Thomas Cook and 30% held by Cooperative. While both firms will retain their separate branding, Thomas Cook added that the merger may mean "hundreds" of job cuts. Savings are expected to among the GBP35 million p/a, which will be realised through job losses, store closures and the consolidation of store headquarters. After the merger, the company will have a combined 4.3 million customers. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Thomas Cook and Co-operative Group announce plans to merge
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Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.