Condor Airlines will officially continue flying.
Last week, Polish Aviation Group (PGL) announced its acquisition of the Germany-based carrier, which had faced an uncertain future after its parent company Thomas Cook Group collapsed in September 2019.
Owner of one of Europe’s oldest and fastest-growing carriers, LOT Polish Airlines, Polish Aviation Group is based in Warsaw. LOT currently serves more than 120 destinations in Europe, Asia and North America with a fleet of 80 aircraft.
With PGL’s acquisition of the airline, Condor will continue to fly under the same brand and leadership. The new partnership will expand Polish Aviation Group’s operations while also securing Condor’s future, according to Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup.
“Together we will serve twice as many passengers, thus forming one of the largest aviation groups and the leading leisure airline group in Europe,” said Teckentrup, in the statement announcing PGL’s acquisition of Condor.
Combined, LOT and Condor are expected to serve nearly 20 million passengers per year. Rafał Milczarski, board president of PGL, added that the acquisition fit perfectly into the aviation group’s strategy.
“We want to develop Condor’s iconic brand in Germany and also introduce it to other markets in Europe,” Milczarski said.
The acquisition, expected to be complete by April 2020, also will help Condor repay the loan it received from the German Federal Government to support the airline’s financial stability after Thomas Cook ceased operations last fall.
Will the acquisition result in any major changes for Condor? Colorado-based aviation consultant Michael Boyd doesn’t expect passengers to notice a difference.
“It’s really sort of a change in ownership, not a change in strategy,” said Boyd. “I think it’s a very positive change, no question.”
Likewise, Brett Snyder, editor of the Cranky Flier aviation blog, expects that PGL will handle the arrangement as the purchase of another airline, not as a merger.
“They see it as complementary,” said Snyder. “The idea is that they will allow the airline to run itself the way it has been run.”
Boyd and Snyder each noted that the two airlines have different business models, with LOT having more of a focus on business travel and Condor leaning more toward leisure.
“They’re pretty different,” Snyder added. “You know, it gives them more heft … they will just have two airlines that run separately, and that’s it.”
Condor flights between Pittsburgh International Airport and Frankfurt, Germany, have proven successful, with the airline carrying more than 38,000 passengers since launching service in 2017.
This season, service is scheduled to resume on May 22 and run through Sept. 21. Flights will be operated on 241-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft, with the configuration including 19 business class seats.