Attacks prompt travel firm warning

Cardiff online travel agency World Travel Holdings has said its businesses are being hit by knock-on effects of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

The company, which acquired Bob Geldof’s rival in March 2001, said the last quarter of the year was severely disrupted by the changes in global travel patterns.

The attacks in New York City and the war in Afghanistan forced it to make “swingeing cuts” in costs.

The company said it hoped it would see a seasonal improvement in 2002, but warned it would have to take further cost-cutting measures if a recovery was not substantial.

All parts of the group, which sells travel packages online via sites including, of the US and of Canada, are at reduced operation since 11 September.

World Travel Holdings bosses will be grateful if they escape the impact of the international crisis which has already hit the aviation industry and an estimated 26,000 jobs.

Profits rise

However, the airport group posted a rise in profits and passenger numbers in November and travel agents have reported increased bookings over the Christmas period.

World Travel Holdings will be hoping its international-focused packages can steer it through the turbulence.

On Thursday, the company said turnover rose from £133,000 to £858,000 while pre-tax loss was £1.26m compared to £1.42m for the three months to September 2001.

A spokesperson said the £600,000 cash the company had at the end of the quarter “should beadequate for the board’s base case for future trading.”

There have been redundancies at Airbus’s Broughton wings plant in Flintshire after orders for its planes fell.

Wrexham wing parts supplier Trefn laid off 124 staff after an £8m reduction in orders.

And French construction consortium Vinci turned its back on a buy-out of Cardiff International Airport owners TBI after shares plunged followed the attacked on the World Trade Center.

Plan adjusted

Executive chairman John Biles said: “After the events of September 11 in NewYork, we have adjusted our business and cost base to deal with the current levelof sales and are encouraged by the renewed progress we are making towardsprofitability.”

Shares in the group jumped 11% to 2½p following the announcement, valuing the firm at £4.4m.

Pop mogul Bob Geldof joined the group’s board as a non-executive director after selling UK-facing to the company in March for £3.2m.

Company travel director Raymond Dyer founded City Travel in Cardiff in 1969 before selling to American Express in 1993.