Condor Keeps Flying After Thomas Cook Collapse

Airline to receive loan from German government, spin off from bankrupt travel company

By Natalie Fiorilli

Published September 30, 2019

Read Time: 2 mins


Following the collapse of Thomas Cook Group last week, Frankfurt-based Condor Airlines, a subsidiary of the British tour company, will continue to operate normally, airline officials said last week.

On Sept.24, the airline announced it will receive a six-month bridge loan from the federal German government and the state of Hesse (where Frankfurt is located). Pending approval from the European Commission, Condor will receive 380 million Euros, which will help mitigate the effects of its parent company’s bankrupt status, according to the airline.

“Because our liquidity for the seasonal weaker winter booking period was used up by our insolvent parent company, we need this bridge financing for the coming winter season,” Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup said. “This decision is an important step towards securing the future of our business.”

In another statement released last week, Condor shared that it is a profitable company, generating 43 million Euros last year and expecting an even more successful financial year in 2019.

Along with the bridge loan, Condor plans to file for a protective shielding procedure, a special legal action in Germany, to separate itself from Thomas Cook and avoid further financial claims.

“This step is the best for our customers, our business partners, suppliers and for us,” Teckentrup said. “It gives us full independence from Thomas Cook Group and more security for our future.”

Condor continues to operate normally and travelers remain able to book tickets for future flights. While the bridge loan will make a difference for Condor, there are still a few areas of uncertainty for the airline.

Joel Van Over, an aviation consulting director with the Atlanta-based firm Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, explained that several parties have expressed interest in purchasing the airline, including the largest airline in Germany, Lufthansa.

“There’s a lot of interest right now, and instead of Condor being its own airline, now there’s the question of who could acquire it, how they merge and where they end up,” he said. “I know Lufthansa has been interested in acquiring their assets, but they are only one of many parties interested in Condor.”

Van Over also noted the airline will likely have to deal with its parent company’s collapse for weeks and months to come.

“There’s that aspect of how long will people pay attention – when people are booking their summer vacations, will this still be at the top of mind or will people have forgotten and moved on by then?” said Van Over. “The interesting thing is that Condor is a profitable entity and really helped to support the finances at Thomas Cook. The airline is well-respected in Germany, and I think if you’re profitable and have consumer appeal, that in itself is a good sign in the long run.”

At Pittsburgh International Airport, Condor operates seasonal nonstop service to Frankfurt that begins in May and ends in September. Those flights, between PIT and Frankfurt, began in 2017 and have proven successful, with the airline considering future growth in Pittsburgh through additional frequencies or the use of larger aircraft.

More than 38,000 passengers have traveled on Condor through Pittsburgh International since the launch of service in 2017.

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