Several tour operators would be prepared to invest in Condor to help keep the German airline operating long-term following the insolvency of the Thomas Cook Group.
The profitable airline has secured legal protection status along with commitments for bridging loans worth €380 million from the German federal government and the Hessen regional government for the next six months and is now in talks with potential investors.
The German travel industry has been quick to voice its support for the airline to continue flying as a major competitor to Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, TUIfly and other leisure airlines. Condor flies about seven million passengers a year, including one third from Thomas Cook Germany tour operator brands along with smaller volumes from other tour operators such as DER Touristik, FTI, Alltours and Schauinsland-Reisen.
Ingo Burmester, DER Touristik’s Central Europe chief, told the DPA news agency that Germany’s third-largest tour operator is not interested in the insolvent Thomas Cook Germany tour operator business. “We have a very well positioned portfolio of brands and products. It doesn’t make any sense just to win volume,” he said.
In contrast, he would not rule out a minority stake in Condor. “I cannot imagine a full takeover of Condor. But I would not fundamentally exclude a stake.” However, Burmester said the priority was to retain “an independent, long-term successful airline”.
Similarly, Gerald Kassner, head of Schauinsland-Reisen, said that a minority stake in Condor might be a possibility given the importance of the airline as a carrier partner. Kassner already has a 50% stake in small charter airline Sundair.
An Alltours spokesman told fvw that the tour operator was confident that Condor would find a strong investor. But he underlined: “Alltours is currently not interested in a stake in Condor. However, we would not exclude this (step) if necessary.”
Meanwhile, the experienced insolvency administrator Lucas Flöther, who has been appointed to oversee Condor’s ‘protection umbrella’ status, said the airline has the chance to secure “a long-term ability to survive”. He explained that, contrary to his role at Air Berlin where he was responsible for selling off assets of the insolvent airline, the question of the airline’s future ownership was “primarily for the Condor management”.