STORY UPDATE: January 24, 2020, Polish Aviation Group, the parent of LOT Polish Airlines has agreed to purchase Condor Airlines. The deal is expected to be completed in April, 2020.
By now, you have heard to Thomas Cook has filed bankruptcy and ceased operations. Thomas Cook had operated as a package-tour company which also flew their own aircraft under Thomas Cook Airlines and Condor Airlines. The airline division was profitable but it wasn’t enough to save Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook owns 49.9% of Condor Airlines which is struggling financially and is seeking help from the German government.
Condor began was founded as Deutsche Fludeienst GmbH in 1955 with Lufthansa owning 26%. The airline operated out of the Lufthansa hub at Frankfurt airport and Lufthansa later became the sole owner. Lufthansa operated Condor as a subsidiary carrier. Beginning in 2000, Thomas Cook began buying shares of Condor stock and rebranded the airline as Thomas Cook powered by Condor. Thomas Cook changed the livery to include their logo on the tail. After some time, the livery name was changed back to Condor.
Air Berlin announced intentions to acquire Condor in 2007 which never materialized. 2017 saw Condor CEO implement a plan to cut operating costs by 40 million Euros and add new U.S. service San Diego, New Orleans and Pittsburgh. Lufthansa has been in talks earlier this year to acquire Condor but decided to wait and see what happened with Thomas Cook’s financial situation. There were talks between Condor and Lufthansa to establish a code-sharing agreement so both carriers could save money on trans-Atlantic routes.
The Condor Fleet
The current Condor 41 aircraft fleet consists of:
- 7 Airbus A320-200 with 180 economy seats
- 4 Airbus A321-200 with 220 economy seats
- 15 Boeing 757-300 with 275 economy seats
- 16 Boeing 767-300 ER with mixes of business, premium economy and economy seats for up to 259 passengers
Condor is one of the few airlines to operate the Boeing 757-300. Historically, Condor has operated as a charter carrier with the focus on all-economy seating.
Current Condor Status
Condor issued a tweet that states they are still flying:
In a statement released by Condor, CEO Ralf Teckentrup said: “All Condor flights are taking off as planned today, and we will do everything within our means so that our fleet can continue to take our guests to their holiday destinations and back”. He added, “About 240,000 of the airline’s customers are currently abroad, he said, adding that tickets sales are working without restrictions”.
As the airline struggles financially they are reaching out to the German government for an emergency aid package. The German Economic Ministry said, “it’s urgently assessing Condor Flugdienst GmbH request for a bridge loan after Thomas Cook collapsed under a pile of debt”.
The Future of Condor
Lufthansa has been sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how Condor’s financial situation plays out. The Condor fleet might not be of much interest to Lufthansa but the Condor landing slots would certainly benefit Lufthansa. The Condor brand is still very popular with German tourists so the name may be worth saving.