German airline Condor finds investor after Thomas Cook insolvency

BERLIN (Xinhua) – Following the insolvency of Thomas Cook, the German holiday airline Condor would be taken over by Polish airline LOT, the German airline and LOT’s parent company PGL jointly announced on Friday.

The offer by PGL, a leading aviation company in central and eastern Europe, had been “selected as the most attractive for Condor, its employees, partners, suppliers and customers,” the two companies announced in a joint statement.

“The Condor brand will remain as it is,” said chief executive officer of Condor Ralf Teckentrup at the joint press conference in Frankfurt where the German airline is headquartered.

A spokesperson for Minister Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier said that the German government regarded the sale of Condor to Polish airline LOT as a “good signal”.

The future of Thomas Cook subsidiary Condor became unsure after the bankruptcy of its then parent company at the end of September last year. The German airline had been able to stay in business thanks to a EUR380 million (USD419 million) loan by the German government.

PGL’s investment would allow Condor to fully repay the government loan, said both companies.

The consolidation of LOT and Condor would create one of the leading European aviation groups with around 20 million passengers per year, the two companies noted. Condor would continue under its current leadership while “gaining from expanded connectivity and operational synergies between the airlines.”

Condor was established in 1956 and transported around 9.4 million passengers annually. In the 2018/19 financial year, it had generated an operating profit of around EUR57 million and some EUR1.7 billion in sales.

“The acquisition of Condor fits perfectly into PGL’s strategy,” said Rafal Milczarski, president of the PGL management board, adding, “We want to develop Condor’s iconic brand in Germany and also introduce it to other markets in Europe.” (EUR1 currently equals to USD1.1)

A Thomas Cook plane takes off in England. PHOTO: AP