Ryanair reaction

Thomas Cook blocks Laudamotion bookings

Thomas Cook Germany has stopped taking bookings for Laudamotion flights in response to Ryanair’s acquisition of a stake in the Austrian carrier, according to fvw information.

April 05, 2018
Thomas Cook is stopping Laudamotion bookings
Photo: Laudamotion/Fotolia

Germany’s second-largest tour operator apparently fears that the Laudamotion flights will not operate as planned this summer due to problems with the availability of crews and planes after owner Niki Lauda brought in Ryanair as investor and strategic partner.

Condor had agreed to exclusively charter eight Laudamotion planes for the summer 2018 season, with Thomas Cook’s tour operators contracting some of the seat capacity.

But travel agents reported that Laudamotion flights, operating under the OE code, could no longer be booked through Thomas Cook’s German tour operators. Instead, Cook is re-booking customers on to flights of Condor, the group’s in-house carrier.

Thomas Cook Germany confirmed to fvw: "Following the announcement of Ryanair's planned acquisition of a majority stake in Laudamotion, Thomas Cook has decided as a precautionary measure to keep a flight alternative available to ensure the transport of its guests at all times.”

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

Apart from the Condor capacity deal, Laudamotion also sealed a short-term deal to wet-lease eight planes to Eurowings until the end of May. From June onwards, it plans to launch flights from Austria.

The move is the latest twist in the Laudamotion saga over the last few weeks. Originally Thomas Cook supported Niki Lauda’s acquisition of Niki, the former Air Berlin subsidiary, and its planned relaunch under the new name Laudamotion.

But Lauda’s surprise decision to sell a 25% stake in the carrier to Ryanair, which would increase the stake to 75% following EU approval, upset Cook’s flight plannning and prompted urgent high-level meetings between the two sides.

Ryanair expects to invest about €50 million for the planned 75% stake in the airline and would contribute a further €50 million for running costs in the first year. It will also contribute 6 wet-lease aircraft to enable Laudamotion to fly with 21 planes this summer.

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