Lufthansa has been eyeing up buying Thomas Cook’s Condor for some time, to help expand their Eurowings fleet. Condor has been under some financial pressure of late, with owners deciding whether to continue operations or break the up carrier.
But questions remain as to whether Thomas Cook will sell the entire airline to Lufthansa, and whether German regulators allow the deal to happen?
What are the details?
Eurowings is a European low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa. They currently have 154 planes and operate to 79 destinations.
Lufthansa has been open in their desire to expand the low-cost carrier, especially out of the hubs of Munich and Frankfurt. But to fuel a quick expansion of the airline, Lufthansa is considering making a move on Condor’s fleet. Lufthansa previously owned 50% of Condor back in 2009, but gave up their percentage.
Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr recently spoke about these plans.
“So assuming we’ll one way or another…get hold of Condor be it through an acquisition, be it through with bankruptcy, that could be the number of airplanes we could end up in Frankfurt and Munich”
Thomas Cook has been reconsidering the position of Condor within their company and may be willing to sell the entire fleet (of 41 aircraft, mostly Boeing 767s) to an airline. Lufthansa makes the most sense, as 30% of Condor flights feed into Lufthansa’s long haul routes. But Lufthansa is not ruling out the possibility that Condor could be sold to someone else.
“If somebody would want to do it against us, I think it’s very unlikely because there is more than 30 percent feed on Condor airplanes by Lufthansa short-haul. So I don’t think that anybody could operate that against us out of Frankfurt or Munich, so we are quite relaxed.”
Another roadblock might be that German antitrust laws prevent Lufthansa from acquiring the airline. It could be seen as making them too big, with too much control of the market.
“Is there really somebody who buys it all as they [Thomas Cook] were hoping for, I find that hard to imagine. Could we buy all of Condor, at least…this will very much depend on antitrust concerns. Would the airline be broken up? I have no idea,”
It remains to be seen if Lufthansa will be successful with their bid or if they will need to find an alternative source of aircraft.
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