European tour operator Thomas Cook has not let weak financial results hit its ambitions to launch an online travel agency to challenge the likes of Expedia and Priceline in Europe.
The operator warned investors today that full profits would be at the lower end of market expectations, due to "softer" trading conditions as the economy continues to bite and hit consumer spending.
But despite facing heavy costs (£81.9 million) as a result of the volcanic ash cloud saga in April this year and nervousness amongst holidaymakers, Thomas Cook is ploughing on with its widely plugged OTA.
The company says plans to launch the OTA are "well underway" and it expects the division to be "largely in place" for the start of the company's next financial year, beginning October 2010.
Despite the launch date being just three months away, Thomas Cook has still given away very little information as to its strategy behind the plan, except to confirm the presence of a number of key officials, decision to use Travelport as its GDS, and a desire to possibly acquire another company to give it a leg up.
Thomas Cook's decision to continue with the OTA strategy makes sense given other figures quoted in its interim management statement released today.
The operator says bookings of mainstream and independent products over the web have increased by 11% year-on-year.
An official says operational details about the OTA will be made available "in the future".