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Airlines

UPDATE 2-Spain's eDreams says June travel bookings beat pre-pandemic levels

* June bookings 2% better than in 2019

* Average booking value down 29% from 2019 (Writes through, adds CFO comment)

MADRID, July 5 (Reuters) - Spanish travel booking company eDreams Odigeo’s June reservations surpassed pre-pandemic levels, it said on Monday, as demand for travel rebounded thanks to looser COVID-19 restrictions and increased vaccination rates.

June booking volumes on its platforms were up 2% from the same month in 2019, the company said in a statement, adding that reservations had been 51% below prepandemic levels in April and 22% below in May.

“We have always been certain that the softening in demand for leisure travel was strictly temporary and that the desire to travel remained undiminished,” said Chief Executive Dana Dunne.

Though global travel has been staging a modest recovery this summer, tourism-dependent southern European nations expect arrivals to be about half their number in 2019.

Bookings have increased from all European countries apart from Britain, where remaining restrictions and uncertainty are dissuading people from travelling, said finance chief David Elizaga.

A much higher number of customers are buying short-haul flights, with fewer passengers per reservation, leading to a 29% drop in the average purchase value, the company added. Lower air ticket prices also contributed to the drop in average booking value, Elizaga said.

Most of the bookings included in the data corresponded to flights in June, July and August, he added.

Despite all the uncertainties, the company is optimistic for a recovery.

“While the long-term outlook for leisure travel is very strong, over the next few months there may still be volatility,” the company’s statement said, citing new coronavirus variants and shifting government travel restrictions.

Elizaga declined to forecast whether the company would be profitable in its current financial year, having posted an adjusted net loss of 87 million euros ($103.2 million) in the year to March 31, from an adjusted profit of 35 million euros the previous year. ($1 = 0.8427 euros) (Reporting by Nathan Allen Editing by Inti Landauro, Louise Heavens and David Goodman)

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