Travel operator TUI said it believes the ash cloud debacle may have strengthened the position of the company as it reported its interim results for the six months to March 31 2010.

TUI announced that bookings from March 14 to May for summer holidays this year increased by five per cent in the UK. Its pre-tax losses have decreased by eight per cent and revenues have increased by eight per cent to £4.9 billion.

TUI has entered into a strategic venture in Canada with Sunwing and TUI IT operations, which are led by CIO Jim Mann, are set to be the main area of cost savings in the venture. In its statement TUI said it has spotted back office functions between the two operations that can be consolidated at head and regional offices. The operations will move onto a single reservation system as well. These moves are expected to generate a profit “of at least £6m”.

The ash cloud disruptions in April that shut European airspace is said to have cost TUI travel £90m in pre-tax profit it said.