Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel group, is considering selling its airline arm, Thomas Cook Group, as it continues to recover from its near-collapse in 2011.
According to the Independent, the company, which can trace its roots back to 1841 when Thomas Cook arranged for 500 people to travel between Leicester and Loughborough for a shilling, has reportedly sounded out potential buyers for the airline group. These are believed to include rival carriers and private equity investors, although no talks are currently taking place.
The holiday giant found itself under a mountain of debt in 2011 but has since axed jobs and shut high-street shops.
“We are always open for opportunities, which might include partnering with other partners/airlines,” it said in a statement.
However, it added: “We are very pleased with the development of our airlines. We have refurbished the cabins of our long-haul fleet and added long-haul aircraft to our Condor fleet in Germany and the UK. We see our airlines as an important part of our business.”
Thomas Cook AG currently has 88 active aircraft in it’s fleet, spanning 4 airlines: Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (29) (Manchester), Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium (3) (Brussels), Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia (14) (Copenhagen-Oslo-Stockholm) and Condor Flugdienst (42) (Frankfurt), making it the 11th largest airline operator in Europe, and has ordered 25 new Airbus A321s (above) to replace older aircraft. However such moves could affect the order as well as result in airlines being shutting down or being rebranded.
The airline has refuted the conjecture in the UK media according to ch-aviation.
Could this be the end for the Thomas Cook we’ve come to know for so many years? Watch this space.
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Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock reporting from Manchester.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) Airbus A321-211 WL G-TCDD (msn 6038) taxies to the gate at Palma de Mallorca.
Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) aircraft slide show: