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Photo: Condor

Lufthansa places bid for Cook carrier Condor

The German’s giant’s chief executive has confirmed his company’s interest in Condor – and possibly also Thomas Cook Airlines.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has confirmed that his company has place a non-binding offer for the German leisure carrier Condor from cash-strapped British parent Thomas Cook.

The acquisition could help the German flag carrier expand its long-haul capacity, he said.

This could be a new chapter in Lufthansa’s buyout of smaller airlines, while Cook looks to raise funds for its wider operations. Thomas Cook Airlines could also become part of the deal.

“We have made a non-binding offer for Condor, with the option of extending it to all Thomas Cook airlines,” said Spohr at his airline’s annual general meeting in Bonn.

Raising money
Heavily indebted, and coming after two profit warnings, Thomas Cook had set a deadline of May 7 for expressions of interest in its profitable operations.

A sale of Condor would raise money for the operator to invest more in its hotels and boost online sales.

Condor mostly makes long-haul journeys from Frankfurt Airport, plus short flights to the Mediterranean from regional hubs. The fleet could be useful to Lufthansa for expanding the long-haul operations of its no-frills subsidiary Eurowings.

Besides Lufthansa, Condor has also attracted the interest of the investment group Indigo Partners, British Airways owners IAG, and possibly even Ryanair, according to newswire reports.

Lufthansa owned Condor until 2009, when it decided to quit the charter sector, selling it to Thomas Cook. Since then, the growth of budget carriers has meant LH is having to re-enter the leisure sector to protect its position.

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