LONDON – Chinese conglomerate Fosun is planning a return for sunken carrier Thomas Cook (MT) in the next few days. At the moment, it appears that MT will be relaunched as an online travel agent at first, with no plans for the airline division confirmed as of yet.
Such a launch is overly dependent on regulatory approvals and whether the UK government will implement more quarantining restrictions. Fosun has acquired the name and other assets from the company for around £11m.
Context of Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook went into administration on September 23 last year. The collapse of not just the airline but the group resulted in the biggest repatriation efforts since the Second World War, of which 165,000 passengers were flown back to the UK.
This is 65,000 more passengers than the collapse of Monarch (ZB) back in 2017. During the administration proceedings of Thomas Cook, Fosun initially offered to contribute to a £900m rescue deal. However, on the eleventh hour of talks, lenders demanded an additional £200m, meaning a £1.1bn rescue deal was needed.
A Risk During COVID-19?
Sources state that MT will relaunch on the one-year anniversary since its insolvency. However, the industry currently remains in a difficult period, especially with COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on the economy.
This could be the reason why MT has not drawn up plans for the airline side of things yet. As such, This will be something to keep an eye on in particular. For example, Condor (DE), which received €550m in German state aid, is still operating.
Depending on the level of relations between Fosun and DE, MT could use aircraft on a wet-lease basis, especially these may not be used during COVID-19.
A Game of Wait and See?
For now, all eyes will be on Fosun to further announce the plans it has for Thomas Cook. In the industry, it would be positive news to see the company transition back into the airline business, as it is something that for jobs, people currently need at this stage.
If it does not, then it will be interesting to see what sort of deals would be struck with other UK airlines and beyond for specific holiday contracts and more. For now, all we have to do in quite the volatile state of this industry is to wait and see.
Featured Image: Thomas Cook Airbus A321 landing at Manchester Airport (MAN/EGCC). Photo Credit: AeroPixels