Thomas Cook, Europe's second-biggest travel and tourism group, said Thursday it had been able to narrow its losses in the first six months of the current year and aimed to return to profit by the end of the year. Thomas Cook, a 50-50 joint venture between German airline Lufthansa and the troubled retail giant KarstadtQuelle, said in a statement it booked pretax loss of 244.2 million euros ($298 million) in the period from November to April, compared with a year-earlier loss of 385.1 million euros. Underlying earnings also improved, with the loss before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) narrowing to 217 million euros in the November-April period, from a loss of 301.4 million euros a year earlier. "Our economic situation has been continued improvement in the first six months," chief financial officer Ludger Heuberg said. "We hope to report a profit both before and after taxes at the end of the current financial year for the first time in four years."