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Thomas Cook's Condor still flying but seeks bridge loan

German carrier Condor is to seek a government-backed bridging loan to preserve liquidity after the collapse of associated tour operator Thomas Cook.

Condor is 49.9%-owned by Thomas Cook Group, according to the leisure giant's annual report, but it is treated under accounts as being wholly-owned and fully consolidated. The carrier is one of dozens of airline and tour operator associates and joint ventures linked to Thomas Cook.

While much of the Thomas Cook Airlines fleet has been grounded as a result of the group's filing for insolvency, Condor is continuing to carry out flights.

"Condor continues to operate as a German company," it says.

But it adds that it has applied for a state-backed bridging loan "in order to prevent liquidity constraints".

This loan request, it says, it "under review" by the federal German government.

Condor operates a fleet of around 60 aircraft, about half of which are Boeing 767-300ERs and 757-300s – one of the few carriers to use the stretched 757 variant.

The other half of its fleet primarily comprises Airbus A320 and A321 single-aisle jets.

Condor points out that it has been "profitable for many years". The airline had been the subject of an acquisition proposal by Lufthansa earlier this year, as Thomas Cook looked at strategic options for its airline operations.

Chief executive Ralf Teckentrup says the airline will "continue to concentrate on what we do best – flying our customers to their holidays safely and on time".

The German airline had been credited with a performance improvement which contributed to Thomas Cook's airline division increasing its full-year underlying earnings to £129 million, for the 12 months to 30 September 2018.

Condor is a strong brand in Germany. Thomas Cook had previously attempted to rebrand the carrier under the leisure company's name, retaining only a "Powered by Condor" tag, but the controversial move has since been reversed with the prominent Condor brand restored to the fleet.

Around 7,500 personnel are employed by the Thomas Cook airlines division, compared with some 13,500 by the tour operator arm.

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