HiFly has bid on struggling airline Thomas Cook, according to reports. The Portuguese charter airline has been eyeing up an airline purchase to supplement their popular wet lease model.
HiFly is well known for its wet-lease aircraft business. Specifically, they are the only carrier to operate an Airbus A380 available for hire. The airline, based in Lisbon, will join a number of other parties bidding on the struggling carrier. Thomas Cook has been searching for a buyer since February following several profit warnings.
HiFly is thought to have joined the bidding process for Thomas Cook, according to an unnamed source at Reuters. The exact details of the bid are currently under wraps. Indeed, it is not unusual for sensitive financial figures to be retained from the public in the aerospace industry.
According to Planespotters, HiFly currently has a fleet of 18 aircraft. This is made up entirely of Airbus aircraft, from the A319 all the way up to the Airbus A380. HiFly has been eyeing the purchase of an airline for some time. In fact, CH Aviation reports that in March, HiFly was looking into purchasing Germania, another airline who had encountered financial issues. Interestingly, Thomas Cook was the first customer of the HiFly Airbus A380 all the way back in August last year.
A HiFly representative declined the opportunity to comment at this time.
Thomas Cook – A brief history
Thomas Cook’s aviation arm was founded in 2003. The airline offers charter and scheduled flights predominantly from Gatwick and Manchester. With 28 aircraft, the airline operates flights to 72 destinations. The airline also has two subsidiaries; Condor in Germany, and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia.
Thomas Cook was put up for sale in February, following poor financial performance. The airline has issued three profit warnings over the course of the last year. The frequent profit warnings have led to the group’s share price dropping from 116.60 a year ago to 17.44 today.
Thomas Cook also declined the opportunity to comment.
Thomas Cook hopefully won’t have too much trouble finding a buyer as multiple groups have now placed bids. This includes HiFly, Virgin Atlantic, The Lufthansa Group, Indigo Partners, and Triton Partners.
Triton Partners are reportedly only interested in Thomas Cook’s Nordic operations. Virgin Atlantic could be a good fit for Thomas Cook, and they recently purchased another struggling UK carrier, Flybe. Indigo Partners were in conversations with WOW Air, however, that airline collapsed after talks fell through. Additionally, the Lufthansa Group owns a range of airlines including Lufthansa and Eurowings.
This story will be updated as new news comes to light.
Do you think Thomas Cook would make a good purchase for HiFly? Let us know in the comments!