The Lufthansa Group has made a nonbinding takeover bid for Thomas Cook-owned German leisure carrier Condor. This was confirmed by Chief Executive Carsten Spohr on Tuesday, when the group held its annual meeting.
In February this year, Thomas Cook revealed plans to sell its four airline divisions, following a loss in profit. Selling off the airline business would be a strategic move to turn the group profitable again, Christoph Debus, CEO of Thomas Cook’s airline business, stated earlier this year.
Lufthansa has also expressed interest in acquiring the other airlines currently part of the British travel company, which are based in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Spain.
Spohr also said Lufthansa believes to be the only bidder that plans to keep Condor as whole, and not divide it into separate entities. However, some remedies have to be expected once European antitrust authorities finished a review of the potential takeover. He added it would be unlikely for a single company to be able to take over Thomas Cook’s entire airline business; this is also due to antitrust regulations. The price offered for a takeover of Condor has not been released.
Condor employs more than 4,000 people and currently operates a fleet of 50 aircraft from seven operating bases. Since the collapse of Air Berlin, Condor is Germany’s largest airline that is not part of Lufthansa Group.
The leisure carrier was founded in 1955 and then acquired by Lufthansa in 1959. However, the German flag-carrier sold Condor to the Thomas Cook Group in 2004. Since then, Lufthansa and Condor have kept a close partnership, despite being now separated companies, for example through an interlining agreement and the Mileage program ‘Miles & More’, which is used by both airlines. In addition, Condor utilises Lufthansa business lounges at airports.
The Lufthansa Group airlines are based in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Italy. Its largest carriers include Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines. All group airlines combined operate over 750 aircraft, with 221 more on order.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.