Cooperation ended

Condor flies away from Laudamotion partnership

Condor is officially terminating its brief commercial partnership with Laudamotion at the end of April due to Ryanair’s planned takeover of the start-up Austrian airline.

April 10, 2018
Laudamotion is heading from Condor to Ryanair
Photo: sk_design - Fotolia

Thomas Cook’s German airline has decided to end its commercial and operational support for Laudamotion after Niki Lauda agreed to sell a majority stake in the Austrian airline to Ryanair.

Condor will stop selling Laudamotion flights on its website at the end of April and providing technological support for the Laudamotion website. It will contact passengers who booked Laudamotion flights for flights after May 1.

In addition, the Thomas Cook carrier will gradually scale back its operational support over the next few months. Functions such as the provision of the traffic control centre, flight preparation and crew planning will be handed over to Laudamotion in the next few months.

“In the interest of our customers, we will continue to provide sales support until the end of this month," said Christoph Debus, Chief Airline Officer of the Thomas Cook Group. "We will concentrate on the growth of Condor / Thomas Cook Group Airline, especially in Germany."

The Thomas Cook Group Airline increased its overall European fleet to 100 aircraft this year and is expected to fly nearly 20 million passengers. With additional aircraft, the airline will increase its capacity this summer by 10% to meet the increased demand for flights following the exit of Air Berlin / Niki in Germany and Monarch Airline in the UK.

Condor had backed Lauda’s acquisition of Niki, the former Air Berlin subsidiary, and its relaunch under the new name this summer, partly to gain additional capacity to fill the gap left by Air Berlin. The German airline agreed to charter eight Laudamotion planes, creating additional capacity for Thomas Cook and other tour operators on routes from Germany this summer. In addition, it marketed Laudamotion flights through its website and provided extensive operational support so that the Austrian airline could take off in late March after just a few weeks’ preparations.

Laudamotion has launched flights from 13 airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to destinations in Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus under its own OE code. These include daily flights to Palma from Basel, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich.

But Niki Lauda’s surprise decision to recoup his €50 million investment in Laudamotion by selling a 25% stake to Ryanair along with a planned 75% takeover by the Irish budget airline upset Condor’s planning. Ryanair promised not only to acquire the 75% stake for €50 million but also to support flight operations with a further €50 million and to contribute six planes for the summer season.

In response, Thomas Cook already stopped taking bookings for Laudamotion flights, apparently over concerns that the Laudamotion flights would not operate as planned this summer due to problems with the availability of crews and planes. Instead, the tour operator re-booked customers on to Condor flights.

Laudamotion flights will be bookable through the Ryanair website instead in future.

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