Thomas Cook’s German carrier Condor has been granted a €380 million lifeline by the German government, allowing it to continue operations for a further six months while it seeks a buyer.
Unlike Thomas Cook Airlines, Condor has continued to fly since Monday (23 September) when its parent, Thomas Cook Group, collapsed and entered liquidation.
The cash will allow Condor to weather the often brutal winter season when airlines tend to be at greatest risk of failure, and will preserve nearly 5,000 jobs.
Condor’s boss said the carrier was a profitable company, with positive cash flow and “good business development”. “We are using the shielding procedure to protect ourselves from possible claims [against] of our former British parent company, Thomas Cook Group,” said chief executive Ralf Teckentrup.
The six-month “bridging loan” is being provided by German state development bank KfW and is yet subject to approval by the European Commission.
Condor says flight operations will continue as planned.
“4,900 Condor employees, partners, suppliers and customers thank the German government for this decision,” said Teckentrup. “Condor is a healthy and profitable company, which will also record a positive result in the current year.
“Because our liquidity for the seasonal weaker winter booking period was used up by our insolvent parent company, we need this bridge financing for the coming winter season. This decision is an important step towards securing our future of our business.”
British pilots union Balpa has, however, criticised the UK government for failing to make similar provisions for Thomas Cook Airlines and instead allowing the airline to be liquidated along with the rest of Thomas Cook Group, triggering the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation effort – Operation Matterhorn.
General secretary Brian Strutton said: “Good luck to the Condor staff and customers. But with UK holidaymakers stranded and 9,000 staff out of a job, the Thomas Cook directors need to explain why the UK airline had to be closed but the German one was allowed to continue to operate.
“How was it funded, because it seems there is nothing left in the coffers for UK staff? And why couldn’t the UK government give the same kind of bridging support as the German government when it was well known that Thomas Cook had a Chinese buyer lined up? It’s a national scandal.”