Thomas Cook Group has begun a strategic review of Thomas Cook Group Airlines suggesting the UK-based leisure specialist is planning to dispose of the subsidiary.

Group chief executive Peter Fankhauser said in a quarterly stock market disclosure that price sensitivity in the European leisure market, coupled with consumer uncertainty, particularly in the UK, had brought on the decision to reduce its overall capacity this summer season.

"Group Airline bookings are below last year, as we have selectively reduced capacity in short and medium-haul destinations by taking in less wet-lease capacity," he said.

The capacity reduction, he said, would both mitigate risk in Thomas Cook's tour operator business while helping its airline unit to consolidate what he termed, the "strong growth" achieved in 2018 wherein Group Airlines posted an operating profit of GBP129 million pounds (USD171 million), a 37% rise year-on-year.

Going forward, Fankhauser added that Thomas Cook Group would focus on strengthening its own-brand hotel portfolio while driving greater efficiencies across its business. This would, in turn, help the firm realize the greater financial flexibility and increased resources needed to accelerate its strategy of differentiation.

"As a result, we are today announcing a strategic review of our Group Airlines," he said.

"We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus. We will provide an update on this process in due course.”

Thomas Cook Group Airlines consists of Condor and Thomas Cook Aviation in Germany, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia in Denmark, Thomas Cook Airlines UK, and Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics in Spain. It operates a total of 103 aircraft.