German airline Condor received a strong endorsement for its future on Monday when the European Union approved a $419 million (380 million euro) bridge loan to help it restructure over the next six months.
Condor’s parent company, travel conglomerate Thomas Cook, collapsed suddenly on Sept. 23 and went into immediate liquidation. Condor, which remained a profitable operation even as its parent struggled, filed for a protective shielding procedure, a special legal action in Germany, to separate itself from Thomas Cook and avoid further financial claims.
As part of that reorganization, the federal German government and the state of Hesse, where Condor is headquartered, agreed to the loan to help Condor stay liquid during the weaker winter booking period.
“We are very pleased that the European Commission has made such a timely and positive decision,” said CEO Ralf Teckentrup. “The bridging loan is an important step towards securing Condor’s future.”
Condor has continued to operate normally during the upheaval, and Teckentrup said current bookings exceeded expectations.
At Pittsburgh International Airport, the bridge loan helps to ensure Condor’s fourth summer of operating nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany. Service is scheduled to begin on May 22, 2020, and run through Sept. 21.
More than 38,000 passengers have traveled on Condor through Pittsburgh International since the route’s launch, which has an annual economic impact of $10 million on the Pittsburgh economy.
The goal now is to find investors who will allow the airline to keep operating independently with the help of insolvency administrator Dr. Lucas Flother, an official assigned by the courts to help businesses navigate bankruptcy issues.
“Condor management will now work out a restructuring plan in order to use the shielding procedure to align and set up Condor for a future without Thomas Cook,” Flother said. “I am confident that at the end of this process a new partner will be found for Condor that will secure a sustainable future for the airline and enable further growth.”