MIAMI — Following the demise of Thomas Cook Airlines, the Polish Aviation Group PGL, owner of LOT Polish Airlines, is set to take over German leisure carrier, Condor.
The deal was announced earlier today in Poland and should be finalized by April 2020 once regulatory approval is granted by the European Commission.
Last year, Condor received a bridging loan from the German government of €380 million. As the airline continued to operate without the support of a major shareholder, Condor’s executives agreed to cut 150 of its 2,400 Flight Attendant jobs, as well as 170 operations staff.
However, the investment provided by LOT Polish will allow Condor to fully repay its loan to the German government.
In a press release, PGL and LOT Polish Airlines CEO, Rafał Milczarski, explained that “the takeover of Condor fits perfectly with PGL’s strategy. The purchase secures the future of Condor and thus offers its employees, customers and partners stability and a great perspective.”
Milczarski also noted that the deal will be financed by a consortium of Polish state-owned institutions.
“We want to further develop the traditional Condor brand in Germany and introduce it to other European markets,” said Milczarski.
According to the release, Condor will continue to operate with its current management while taking advantage of the vast network LOT Polish is able to offer. Milczarski added that the German carrier will become “the central pillar of the PGL tourism strategy.”
Likewise, Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor, highlighted that the deal was made possible with the support of German tour operators.
“We are pleased that Condor, Germany’s most popular leisure airline, has gained in PGL and LOT stable, experienced and dynamically developing partners who secure the future of our business,” said Teckentrup.
“Together we will serve twice as many passengers, thus forming one of the largest aviation groups and the leading leisure airline group in Europe,” he added.
In 2019, LOT Polish flew more than 10 million passengers with its fleet of 80 planes. Adding these to Condor’s 9.4 million passengers and 50 aircraft, the combined group will offer more than 20 million passengers a broad network of leisure destinations with a fleet of 130 planes.
The Polish carrier operates a network of more than 120 routes, including 18 destinations in the United States and Asia.
According to the German carrier, the combination of LOT and Condor within PGL “creates one of the leading European aviation groups with Germany and Poland as core markets.”
Teckentrup also said that the deal had been made possible by the support of German tour operators.
This is tremendous news for Condor and its passengers. Following the demise of Thomas Cook, the airline found itself without a clear path.
Last month, the airline brought back its iconic logo following its separation from the bankrupt Thomas Cook Airlines.
The Condor logo was unveiled to the airline’s employees at Frankfurt am Main Airport, applied to the tail of one of the airline’s Boeing 767-300(ER)s (D-ABUF).
The reasoning for this change was released in a statement by the Teckentrup, who confirmed that “after the final separation from Thomas Cook, the Thomas Cook logo and the heart logo must be completely removed for trademark reasons.”
“After 16 years, the Condor logo will return to the tails of our aircraft, which makes especially every person working for Condor very proud,” Teckentrup continued. “Condor and our logo is a strong brand that has signified Germany’s most popular airline for 64 years,” he said.
Now, with the backup of LOT Polish, Condor can focus on the future.