Category Archives: Condor

Lufthansa to bid for Thomas Cook’s Condor Flugdienst

Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Boeing 757-330 WL D-ABOL (msn 29021) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 946462.

Lufthansa is prepared to make an offer for Condor Flugdienst from the Thomas Cook Group according to Reuters. It will also offer an option to acquire the other Thomas Cook airlines.

Read the full story from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Boeing 757-330 WL D-ABOL (msn 29021) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 946462.

Condor aircraft slide show:

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Condor’s new Airbus A320 retrojet

Condor's 1961 retrojet livery

Condor Flugdienst has painted the pictured Airbus A320 D-AICH (above) in the 1961 retrojet livery. This mimics the same livery previously painted and worn on Airbus A320 D-AICA which is now leased to Air Transat in their colors.

Above Photo: Condor/Marlin Lehmann.

Similarly Boeing 767-31B ER D-ABUM is painted in the 1963 retrojet livery.

Copyright Photo: Condor Flugdienst Airbus A320-212 D-AICH (msn 971) (1961 retrojet) FRA (Marcelo F. De Biasi). Image: 946237.

Condor aircraft slide show:

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Thomas Cook Group will offer a larger fleet for the Summer 2019 schedule, Thomas Cook to introduce new “flat beds”

Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Airbus A321-211 WL D-AIAG (msn 6590) AYT (Andi Hiltl). Image: 945978.

The Thomas Cook Group made this announcement:

•Group Airline with a total of four additional short- and medium-haul aircraft compared to summer 2018
•Three further Airbus A321s in service for Condor as of early summer, one additional A321 to take-off for Thomas Cook Airlines UK
•105 aircraft in UK, Scandinavia, Spain and Germany

The Thomas Cook Group Airline is taking delivery of two additional Airbus A321 aircraft, which will be added to the Condor fleet for the 2019 summer flight schedule. The jets will be in service for Thomas Cook Airlines UK from winter 2019/20 afterwards. The Group Airline recently announced to include two further Airbus A321 for summer 2019, and will have a total of 105 aircraft then. Its short- and medium-haul fleet has been expanded by four additional own aircraft in total compared to the previous year.

Two Airbus A321s fly for Condor and are stationed in Leipzig and Hanover in summer 2019. In Leipzig, Condor is significantly increasing capacity with around 100,000 additional seats to the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, Turkey and Egypt. Another A321 is flying in Germany as well, the fourth airplane completes the A321 fleet of Thomas Cook Airlines UK.

The fleet growth is a clear sign for the Group Airline’s focus on operational stability during high season: “Using additional aircraft of our own is another measure to live up to our quality promise next summer, even during the high season”, says Christoph Debus, Chief Airline Officer of the Thomas Cook Group. With the additional aircraft, the Group Airline has further reserves available and has hired additional personnel on the ground and in the air. As part of an internal project, numerous other measures were implemented to ensure stable flight operations in the summer of 2019.

In other news, Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) on May 13 will introduce “flat beds” for its long-haul routes to the USA.

Video:

Top Copyright Photo: Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Airbus A321-211 WL D-AIAG (msn 6590) AYT (Andi Hiltl). Image: 945978.

Condor aircraft slide show:

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Thomas Cook Group will consider selling its airline division

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (SmartLynx Airlines Latvia) Airbus A320-214 LY-LCO (msn 1873) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 945605.

The Thomas Cook Group has stated it is conducting a review of its airline division. The group wants to concentrate more on its hotels division.

The group also stated it would consider all options including a possible sale of the individual airlines.

The Thomas Cook Group airline division consist of three sun and beach focused leisure airlines: Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, the German airline Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics.

The group issued this full financial report:

Fiscal first quarter trading statement for the three months ended December 31, 2018:

2018/19 started in line with expectations; strategic review of airline announced

HIGHLIGHTS1

  • First quarter revenue up 1% to £1,656 million2
  • Q1 underlying operating loss increased by £14 million to £60 million against a strong prior-year period – loss from operations on a reported basis increased £7 million reflecting lower separately disclosed items
  • Strategic review of Group Airline to increase financial flexibility and accelerate execution of our core strategy

1. Comments are based on like-for-like comparisons

2. Includes adjustment for IFRS 15 accounting change for Group Airline and residual amounts relating to the transfer of the Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium to Brussels Airlines and as such is no longer part of the Group

Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook commented:

“As expected, the knock-on effect from the prolonged summer heatwave and high prices in the Canaries have impacted customer demand for winter sun. Where Summer 2018 bookings started very strongly, bookings for Summer 2019 reflect some consumer uncertainty, particularly in the UK, and our decision to reduce capacity which will both mitigate risk in our tour operator business and help our airline to consolidate the strong growth achieved last year.

“We’ve made further good progress in transforming our business with a rigorous focus on managing our cost base while innovating to deliver high-quality holidays for our customers. Our strategic alliance with Expedia is now live in all our key markets. In addition, we are set to open 20 new own brand hotels this summer, including three Casa Cooks and eight Cook’s Clubs, and have announced two new hotel projects with Fosun in China.

“At the same time, we recognise that we need greater financial flexibility and increased resources to accelerate the execution of our strategy of differentiation: to invest in strengthening our own-brand hotel portfolio; further digitising our sales channels; and driving greater efficiencies across the business. As a result, we are today announcing a strategic review of our Group Airline. We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus. We will provide an update on this process in due course.”

FIRST QUARTER PERFORMANCE

Group revenue was broadly unchanged in the first quarter, rising by 1% on a like-for-like basis to £1,656 million, led by strong customer demand for Turkey and North African destinations, offsetting weaker demand for Spain.

Gross margins were lower, reflecting a continuation of the highly competitive market conditions in the UK at the end of the summer season, and weaker demand for winter holidays in the Nordics.

As a result, the Group’s seasonal underlying loss from operations increased by £14 million on a like-for-like basis to £60 million. Currency translation movements during the quarter led to an impact of £4 million. On a reported basis, our loss from operations increased by £7 million, reflecting an improvement in separately disclosed items. The seasonal loss was led by the Group Tour Operator where a weaker performance in the UK and Northern Europe was partially offset by a good performance in Continental Europe. Our Group Airline continued to perform well, delivering a seasonal underlying loss in line with a strong comparative period last year.

Financial position

Net debt at December 31, 2018 was £1,588 million. The Group has kept a healthy level of liquidity headroom over the important winter cash low period, maintaining a minimum buffer within our targeted range of £150 million to £200 million. In addition, our bank covenant tests as at 31 December 2018 were met.

CURRENT TRADING AND OUTLOOK

Winter 2018/19 

Trading for the Winter 2018/19 season is largely unchanged from the last update. Total bookings are up 8%, supported by higher volumes in the Group Airline as a result of the full season impact of extra aircraft acquired last spring. We continue to see strong demand for Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia as customers seek alternatives to high hotel prices in the Canary Islands. However, average selling prices are 10% lower overall, reflecting a higher mix of short and medium-haul airline volumes.

Group Tour Operator bookings are down 2%, with pricing 3% lower. Bookings from the Nordics and Continental Europe are lower than last year, in line with reductions in capacity. In the UK, charter risk bookings are in line with last year.

For the Group Airline, overall bookings are 8% ahead, in line with capacity increases. Bookings to short and medium-haul destinations are up by 10%, largely as a result of a growth in demand for Egypt. Long-haul bookings are up 3% with good demand for USA and Caribbean. Overall airline pricing is down 3% due to the mix effect of a shift towards short and medium-haul flying.

Summer 2019

Our Summer 2019 program is 30% sold, slightly ahead of last year. Group Tour Operator bookings are consistent with the capacity reductions we have made across our markets to closely manage our risk capacity throughout the year. As a result, tour operator bookings are down 12%, helping to support pricing, which is up in all key segments, and 4% higher overall.

Group Airline bookings are below last year, as we have selectively reduced capacity in short and medium-haul destinations by taking in less wet-lease capacity. This is partially offset by good growth in demand to long-haul destinations. Average selling prices are up 6%, with higher yields in both short and medium-haul and long-haul.

Outlook

We are addressing some of the challenges we faced in Summer 2018 by reducing our committed airline capacity for 2019 and increasing the focus on high quality, higher-margin hotels and destinations. In addition, we continue rigorously to drive down costs to give us greater operational flexibility, while remaining fully focused on our strategy, and managing our financial and commercial commitments.

We are making no changes to the full-year expectations set out in November 2018, reflecting the early stage in the year and limited visibility due to wider market uncertainty, particularly in the UK.

INTENSIFYING STRATEGIC FOCUS

Thomas Cook Group has undergone significant transformation over the last five years as we have streamlined our operations and focused on a clear strategy in both our Airline and Tour Operator businesses.

However, it is clear that we need greater financial flexibility and increased resources to accelerate the execution of our strategy of differentiation: to invest in strengthening our own-brand hotel portfolio; further digitising our sales channels; and driving greater efficiencies across the business. As a result, we are today announcing a strategic review of our Group Airline. We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus. We will provide an update on this process in due course.

Our strategy for the airline has been to profitably grow as a leading European leisure airline with a reliable, customer-focused service. This has involved a continuous review of our cost structure in order to stay competitive in a highly fragmented market. We currently operate a fleet of 103 aircraft, of which a quarter serve long-haul destinations. Our Group Airline delivered strong growth in 2018, despite facing industry-wide disruption.

We made good progress in strengthening our seat-only offer, and growing services to third-party tour operators. We carried over 20 million passengers and generated £3.5 billion in revenue, with underlying operating profits growing 37% year-on-year to £129 million.

Top Copyright Photo: Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (SmartLynx Airlines Latvia) Airbus A320-214 LY-LCO (msn 1873) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 945605.

Thomas Cook (UK) aircraft slide show:

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Thomas Cook Group shows profitable growth in a disrupted environment

Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Airbus A320-212 D-AICE (msn 894) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 944674.

Thomas Cook Group issued this report:

• Strong Airline profit growth of £35 million despite higher disruption cost

• Increased capacity with revenues growth of 10.1% to £3.5bn

• New airlines founded in Spain and Germany to support growth

Manchester/Frankfurt/Copenhagen – The Thomas Cook Group Airline has increased its underlying profit by 37% to £129 million for the financial year ending September 30, 2018. With an increase of available seats of 8.8% and a fleet of 100 aircraft overall revenues have grown by 10.1% to £3.5bn in the financial year 2017/18.

With the two brands Thomas Cook Airlines (in UK and Scandinavia) and Condor (in Germany), the Group Airline has carried over19 million passengers to over 120 destinations worldwide.

As part of the airline strategy for profitable growth, two new airlines have been set up in 2018. Based in Mallorca and Oberursel the new platforms provide greater operational flexibility at competitive costs, while better ensuring the quality and customer experience compared to third-party lease arrangements.

Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, said:

“Our Group Airline delivered strong growth in customers and profit, benefitting from increasing capacity in a turbulent European aviation sector.”

The pan-European airline could realize £31 million by implementing cost reduction measures that address synergies across its markets. The integration of the airline is well advanced with a consistent product, customer experience and management approach.

The European Aviation market was marked by disruption in Summer 2018 caused by delays of the registration of new aircraft, shortage on spare parts and an air traffic control system that was not fully prepared for the strong growth. This resulted in a substantial increase of irregularity cost (which include EU261 compensation costs, welfare, sub-charter and denied boarding costs) of £101 million in Summer 2018 vs. £49 million in Summer 2017.

The Group Airline has put several measures in place to optimize its operational performance, such as additional reserve aircraft, a streamlined aircraft basing with an all Airbus fleet in UK and Scandinavia and all Boeing aircraft operated in Germany and a dedicated team for customer communication in the case of a delay.

More on the Condor fleet: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Airbus A320-212 D-AICE (msn 894) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 944674.

Condor aircraft slide show:

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Condor to commence nonstop flights between Frankfurt and Phoenix

Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Boeing 767-3Q8 ER WL D-ABUT (msn 29383) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 933499.

Condor Flugdienst, part of Thomas Cook Group Airlines, will begin new, seasonal nonstop service between Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Frankfurt, Germany on May 18, 2018. The new flight is the only nonstop connection between Phoenix and Continental Europe. The seasonal service will run through September, 2018.

Beginning May 18, 2018, Condor will leave Phoenix Mondays at 8:55 p.m., arriving in Germany at 5:00 p.m. the following day. The flight will leave Frankfurt at 3:30 p.m., arriving Phoenix at 6:35 p.m. On Fridays Condor will leave Phoenix at 4:55 p.m., arriving in Frankfurt at 1:00 p.m. the next day. From Frankfurt, the flight will leave at 11:40 a.m. on Fridays, arriving Phoenix at 2:45 p.m.

The route will utilize a Boeing 767‐300ER aircraft and offer three classes of service: business, premium and economy. Introductory fares in economy class start as low as $399.99.

This is Thomas Cook Group Airlines’ latest new gateway in the U.S., having added Pittsburgh, San Francisco and New Orleans last summer to its existing gateways of Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle/Tacoma, Portland, Las Vegas, Austin, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Baltimore, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

 

Copyright Photo: Condor Flugdienst-Thomas Cook Boeing 767-3Q8 ER WL D-ABUT (msn 29383) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 933499.

Condor aircraft slide show:

SmartLynx signs a wet lease agreement with Condor for YL-LCQ

In December 2017 SmartLynx Airlines Ltd. signed a long-term wet lease agreement for 2018 with the German leisure airline Condor Flugdienst GmbH.

According to the agreement between SmartLynx and Condor, SmartLynx will wet lease to Condor a 220-seat Airbus A321-200 with the Latvian registration mark of YL-LCQ (msn 2211) from January 7, 2018 to March 31, 2018. The aircraft will operate from the base in Munich Airport (MUC), Germany.


The aircraft will fly to holiday destinations such as Rhodes, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Palma de Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Malaga, and Fuerteventura.

Condor is a new partner of SmartLynx.

In other news, in 2017 SmartLynx introduced a new livery, now applied to ES-SAM.

All photos by SmartLynx.

SmartLynx route map:

Video: YL-LCQ was previously operated for Thomas Cook Airlines: