Lufthansa Group is making a nonbinding bid to acquire Thomas Cook’s German airline, Condor. The offer also includes an option to buy Thomas Cook’s other airlines.
Tour operator Thomas Cook put its airline business up for sale in February as part of efforts to increase funding to support a wider overhaul, and had set a deadline of 7 May for nonbinding offers. The acquisition could help Lufthansa expand its long-haul capacity.
Due to stringent antitrust regulations it may be unlikely that any single airline group would be able to acquire all Thomas Cook’s airlines. Thomas Cook has airline companies based in Manchester, U.K., Copenhagen, and Mallorca, Spain, in addition to Condor. And while these airlines focus mostly on the leisure market, Condor in recent years has also looked to the business travel sector with affordable business class product.
“We believe that we can offer Condor good prospects and maintain the business as a whole, both long- and short-haul operations,” said Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr at the airline’s annual general meeting in Bonn according to news reports. “We have made a non-binding offer for Condor, with the option of extending it to all Thomas Cook airlines.”
Condor flies to several first tier and second tier metro airports in the U.S. Its operations include mostly long haul flights to Asia, Africa and the Americas through Frankfurt Airport as well as short flights to cities in Europe.
The Thomas Cook group holds 103 planes. Lufthansa has been actively acquiring and consolidating in recent years, taking over stakes in Brussels Airlines and adding on some of the operations of defunct Air Berlin.. Lufthansa has also shown interest in the Indigo Partners investment group and Ireland’s Ryanair, among others.