Thomas Cook Group

Condor cuts down on sub-contracted carriers

Condor will take off with more own planes this summer.
Condor will take off with more own planes this summer.

Condor will downscale to just two wet-lease airline partners this summer from a handful last year to keep its flight schedule as stable as possible.

Thomas Cook Group’s German airline suffered, like other major carriers, from a wide range of external problems in summer 2018. These included the poor operational performance of several sub-contracted partners such as Small Planet Airlines (which declared insolvency last autumn).

In response, Condor is tightening up on its operations for summer 2019 to ensure that it can ensure stable flight operations for parent company Thomas Cook and other tour operators.

One move is to reduce the number of airline partners to just two wet-lease partners, Smartlynx and Air Tanker. Latvian airline Smartlynx will station two A321s at Hanover to fly for Condor while UK-based Air Tanker will operate long-haul flights from Frankfurt with an A330 wide-body jet.

The Smartlynx planes, carrying Thomas Cook Airlines branding, will be operated by German-speaking crews who will offer the usual Condor service. The Air Tanker plane also carries the Thomas Cook branding as the plane was previously operated for the group on routes from the UK.

Condor has also been forced to reorganise flights from Stuttgart. Romanian carrier Blue Air was supposed to operate charter flights from the airport for Condor with three jets but apparently has a shortage of planes. Instead, Blue Air and Lithuanian carrier Avion Express are flying from Stuttgart with one plane each until mid-May, when Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics will take over routes from the south-west German airport.

The Thomas Cook carrier already announced late last year that it would reduce the number of wet-lease partners this summer and use more of its own planes instead. Three more medium-haul jets are joining the airline’s fleet for summer 2019 as a result.

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