1/23/2004: German Carrier Condor Flies Again

1/23/2004: German Carrier Condor Flies Again

DALLAS — Today, in 2004, Thomas Cook powered by Condor, the German leisure airline, changed its name and became known as ‘Condor’ (DE).

The airline, which can trace its roots back to December 21, 1955, initially operated under the name Deutsche Flugdienst GmbH. It started its operations on March 28, 1956, from Frankfurt (FRA) with a fleet consisting of three 36-seat Vickers VC.1 Vikings.

In 1971, it became the first (and one of the few charter carriers) to add the Boeing 747 to its fleet. Between 1993 and 1996, Condor operated three Boeing 747-200s and leased a -400 series from parent company LH for additional capacity. Photo: Daniel TannerCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Development


German flag carrier Lufthansa (LH) gained full control of the airline by 1960. The airline was then renamed Condor Flugdienst on October 25, 1961, and LH continued to operate it as a charter subsidiary. Under LH’s management, Condor’s fleet and network expanded rapidly. This included the introduction of new long-haul services to Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic in 1966.

Condor quickly established itself as a leading leisure airline and made history in 1971 by becoming one of the first charter carriers to incorporate the Boeing 747 into its fleet.

In 2000, Lufthansa began selling its shares in Condor Flugdienst to the Thomas Cook Group (TCG). The integration of Condor with other airlines within the Thomas Cook Group, such as Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Scandinavia, and Belgium, led to the rebranding of the carrier as ‘Thomas Cook powered by Condor.’

As part of the rebranding, a new livery was introduced, featuring the standard Thomas Cook Group livery with the additional branding of ‘powered by Condor.’ The first aircraft showcasing this new color scheme took flight in June 2002.

The airline is seen with the basic Thomas Cook livery with Condor titles. Photo: Condor.

Condor Flies Again 


However, the rebranded identity did not last for an extended period. The management decided to revert to the original Condor branding, albeit with the colors of the Thomas Cook Group (TCG).

Following the collapse of Thomas Cook in 2019, the German government intervened and provided a bridge loan to ensure the continuity of the airline’s operations. In January 2020, Polish flag carrier LOT (LO) acquired Condor, but the sale fell through a few months later due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July 2021, asset management company Attestor gained control of the airline by acquiring a 51% stake in its shares. The remaining 49% of shares are owned by the German federal government and the regional government in Hesse, where Condor is headquartered.

By April 2022, the German leisure airline revealed a new brand identity: five color-striped liveries inspired by parasols and beach chairs. The new design was unveiled in Toulouse with the first A330neo, which will take off in the fall.

The stripes are synonymous with vacation, said the carrier, which wants to emerge as “a distinct and unique vacation airline.”

Condor A330neo with new blue stripe livery. Render: vision alphabet
Condor A330neo with new blue stripe livery. Render: Vision Alphabet

Featured image: Condor’s Boeing 767s will be replaced by the Airbus A330neo. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

European Deputy Editor
Writer and aviation fanatic, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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