Polish LOT Airlines confirm buying bankrupted German carrier Condor

24.01.2020 at 11:49

Travel news

Polish carrier LOT is buying German airline Condor, which used to belong to Thomas Cook, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Condor – which competes with Lufthansa and TUI fly – announced it would hold a news conference at 1000 GMT to present its new owner.

LOT’s CEO, Rafał Milczarski, said on the press conference that the Condor if a perfect match to the Polish Aviation Group’s strategy. Additionally, it seems that Condor will keep its branding.

He commented: “The purchase secures the future of Condor and thus offers its employees, customers and partners stability and a great perspective. We want to further develop the traditional Condor brand in Germany and introduce it to other European markets.”

PGL boss Rafal Milczarski does not want to comment on the purchase price. It is “fair”, he says only. Condor boss Ralf Teckentrup had previously said that the money could be used to repay the loan easily. This means that the Poles put more than 380 million euros for Condor.

According to Milczarski, both brands, LOT and Condor, will remain on the market. Condor will focus on holiday flights, LOT mostly on business flights.

Good news is that LOT plans to grow Condor’s presence also in Eastern Europe, while until now it served mostly just German market.

The deal has been welcomed by the German cabin crew union, the UFO.

The purchase of Condor by the Polish Aviation Group will hopefully mark an end to the split from Thomas Cook. Condor is currently in the process of removing all Thomas Cook branding from its aircraft. This is as the airline no longer has permission to use the trademark.

As a result the iconic bird logo, previously only seen on the tail of the airline’s retro-jet, is once again adorning the tails of the fleet.

Unlike Thomas Cook, which collapsed last year, Condor received a lifeline from Germany in the form of a 380 million euro bridging loan and filed for investor protection proceedings, which requires that a company is not yet insolvent and can be saved.

As it seeks to cut costs, Condor last week struck a deal with its flight attendants on plans to cut 150 of its 2,400 cabin jobs. That followed an earlier deal to cut 170 jobs in overhead operations.

LOT confirmed that all current Condor staff is needed though, so there should be no more job cuts under the new owner.

Condor has nearly 60 planes and 4,900 employees.

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