What Will Happen To Condor Amid Thomas Cook’s Bankruptcy?

With the Thomas Cook Group ceasing operations amid bankruptcy, one must ask, what will happen to Condor? Here, we look at the German airlines’ plans to continue operations, request for a bridge loan, and the German airline’s history.

Condor Airbus A320 retro special livery
Condor seeks to continue operations despite the collapse of its parent company, Thomas Cook plc. Photo: Bram Steeman / Wikimedia Commons

Condor seeks to continue operations, bridging loan.

In a press release, Condor announced  that it will “continue its flight operations despite the fact that its parent company Thomas Cook Group plc has filed for insolvency.”

Our flight operations continues regularly, all flights are departing as usual. ” – Condor Spokesperson

The press release continues, saying “In order to prevent liquidity constraints Condor has applied for a state-guaranteed bridging loan, which is currently under review by the Federal Government”.

German news-wire DPA reports that Condor is seeking 200 million euros (£176m) in support.

Condor Boeing 767-330(ER)
Condor employs 9,500 who help 19 million customers to travel to 120 destinations, according to the company’s website.  Photo: Oliver Holzbauer / Wikimedia Commons

According to Reuters, the German government is looking into the application but has yet to comment on specifics on the discussions.

The United Services Trade Union of Germany (ver.di), has also expressed its support for the loan. In a press release, Christine Behle, ver.di Head of Department 11, Transport, called for government action.

Condor is an important and strong brand in the aviation market, with exceptionally dedicated employees who have made the airline still profitable. Politicians must now take responsibility for the company and its employees to maintain Condor and jobs. ” – Christine Behle, Head of Department 11, Transport at ver.di. (translated from German)

While Condor looks to continue operations, the company said that it will not be able to accommodate outbound guests traveling as part of a Thomas Cook tour. Returning passengers, however, will be welcomed.

A320-212, Thomas Cook (Condor)
Passengers booked on Thomas Cook tours may not be accommodated on Condor flights. Condor asks that customers contact Thomas Cook directly. Photo: Javier Bravo Muñoz / Wikimedia Commons

The profitable airline operates over 60 aircraft, ranging from Airbus narrow-bodies such as the A321 to longer-range Boeing 767s.

Merger options

Thomas Cook’s Airlines have been the talk of the town in the past months, as many analysts have identified the Group’s flying entities as possible acquisition targets.

Back in May, Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa made a bid for some of Thomas Cook’s airline entities. Specifically, the German airline hoped to consolidate its national position, and possibly boost expansion at Eurowings.

“We believe that we can offer Condor good prospects and maintain the business as a whole, both long- and short-haul operations,” – Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, quoted by Flight Global

While the Lufthansa deal has yet to come to fruition, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported a week ago that TUI was in discussions with Condor.

Airbus A320 (Condor) at Stuttgart
Condor has, for a long time, been the focus of merger discussions. Both Lufthansa and TUI have reportedly expressed interest in partnering with or acquiring the German airline. Photo: Grzegorz Jereczek / Wikimedia Commons

Indeed, a merger or partnership between the Anglo-German tourism conglomerate and Condor is not a new idea. Back in 2012, both companies held numerous rounds of talks on the possibility.

Condor: a brief history

Condor was established in 1955 as “Deutsche Flugdienst GmbH”, according to the company’s history page. Four years after the company’s inception, Lufthansa, one of four founding partners, acquired the rest of the capital from two shipping companies and the state-owned train enterprise.

At the beginning of the 1960s, the company adopted the name “Condor Flugdienst GmbH after acquiring a Hamburg based airline. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, the company’s fleet grew to include modern aircraft such as the 747, and later 757s and 767s.

Condor Boeing 727-230
Condor used to fly the Boeing 727 trijet on regional flights. Photo: Kambui / Wikimedia Commons

During this time Condor established itself as leading leisure airline, operating both charter and scheduled services. From the late 90s onward, Lufthansa’s shares in the leisure airline were gradually transferred to Thomas Cook. In 2009, Lufthansa sold off its final shares to the British tourism group.

Under Thomas Cook management, Condor continued to grow its fleet and expand its low-cost and leisure offerings. Condor is part of the Thomas Cook Group Airline.

Per Flight Global, the company is 49.9% owned by Thomas Cook Group but “it is treated under accounts as being wholly-owned and fully consolidated.”

What do you think the future holds for Condor? Have you been affected by Thomas Cook’s collapse? Let us know in the comments.