Condor Flugdienst

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For the 1920s transatlantic airline, see Condor Syndikat.
Condor
Condor-Airlines-Logo-New.jpg
IATA
DE
ICAO
CFG
Callsign
CONDOR
Founded 1955
Commenced operations 1956
Hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Miles & More
Airport lounge several third party
Fleet size 44
Destinations 77
Company slogan
'Wir lieben Fliegen.' (German)
'Born to fly.' (English)
Parent company Thomas Cook Group
Headquarters Frankfurt, Germany
Key people Ralf Teckentrup, CEO
Website condor.com

Condor Flugdienst GmbH, usually shortened to Condor, is a German leisure airline based in Frankfurt. It is operating scheduled flights to leisure destinations in the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and the Caribbean. Its main base is Frankfurt Airport[1] from where most of the longhaul flights depart; secondary bases for Mediterranean flights are Munich Airport which also features long-haul flights, Hamburg Airport, Düsseldorf Airport, Stuttgart Airport and Berlin Schönefeld Airport.

Condor is Germany's third largest commercial airline based on fleet size and passengers flown. It is headquartered at Gateway Gardens near Frankfurt Airport with an important branch office in Schönefeld. It is a subsidiary of the British Thomas Cook Group, but still partners with its former parent the German Lufthansa Group through the use of the Lufthansa Group's Miles & More program and the use its Business Lounges at Frankfurt Airport.

History[edit]

A Condor Vickers Viking 1B cargo aircraft operating for Lufthansa Cargo in 1964
A Condor Boeing 707 in 1978
A Condor Boeing 747-200 in 1978
A Condor Airbus A310 in 1985
A Condor Airbus A300 in 1988
A Condor Airbus A320-200 in 2004, featuring the livery with the "Thomas Cook" titles that was introduced in the 1990s.

1955–1959: The beginnings[edit]

The company was founded on 21 December 1955 as Deutsche Flugdienst GmbH, its ownership being split between Norddeutscher Lloyd (27.75%), Hamburg America Line (27.75%), Deutsche Lufthansa (26%) and Deutsche Bundesbahn (18.5%). The initial fleet of three 36-passenger Vickers VC.1 Viking aircraft was based at Frankfurt Airport, the Lufthansa hub. Scheduled flight operations were launched on 29 March 1956 with a pilgrimage flight to Israel. Further destinations flown to during the first year were Majorca and Tenerife. In 1959, Lufthansa took over 95.5 percent of the stake, thus creating its first post-war subsidiary.

1960–1969[edit]

In 1961, Deutsche Flugdienst took over its rival Condor-Luftreederei (which had been founded in 1957 by Oetker), subsequently changing its name to Condor Flugdienst GmbH, thus re-introducing the "Condor" name with Lufthansa (there was a Brazilian subsidiary named Syndicato Condor between 1928 and 1943). In 1962, Condor Flugdienst transported ca. 32,000 passengers (18,400 of which to and from Majorca) and had a market share of 63.3 percent in the German leisure air travel. In 1966, the longhaul business was launched, with flights to Thailand, Ceylon, Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

1970–1979: Leading leisure airline[edit]

In 1971, Condor became the world's first leisure airline to add the Boeing 747 (at that time the largest passenger aircraft) to its fleet. In 1973, the airline generated a revenue of 291 million DM (then equivalent to 90.8 million USD),[2] surpassing all other leisure airlines worldwide. At that time, the Condor fleet consisted of two Boeing 747-200s, two 707s and ten 727s.

1980–1989[edit]

This period saw the launch of the Condor Individuell system, allowing direct flight bookings by passengers without the need of a travel agency. In 1989, SunExpress was founded as a co-operation between Condor and Turkish Airlines, aiming at leisure traffic between Germany and Turkey.

1990–1999[edit]

Condor added Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 jets to its fleet. They are operated initially from the production workshop of Südflug, a 100% subsidiary of Condor. In 1991, as the first leisure carrier, Condor introduces a separate and more comfortable Comfort Class (Business Class) to its Boeing 767 long-haul fleet. The Südflug subsidiary is integrated into Condor in the fall of 1992. In 1995, Condor expands its shareholdings: Alpha Holding GmbH (30%), Kreutzer Touristik GmbH (37.5%), Fischer Reisen GmbH (100%) and Öger Tours GmbH, with 10%, are now all part of the Condor Tourism Group. Condor also acquires Lufthansa’s 40% holding in the Turkish charter airline SunExpress, which is later increased to 50%. In 1996, commemorating the 40th birthday of the airline, US painter James Rizzi created a special paint scheme which was applied to one of Condor's Boeing 757s. With an order for 12 aircraft, the airline became the launch customer of the enlarged Boeing 757-300. 1998, Condor Flugdienst GmbH is owned by C&N Touristic AG (later Thomas Cook AG). With the merger of Condor Flugdienst GmbH and NUR Touristic GmbH, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and KarstadtQuelle AG have created the basis for an integrated tourism group with a European format – both partners have a 50% holding in the company. In 1998, Condor Berlin GmbH was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary with headquarters at Berlin Tegel Airport (as all other German airlines, Condor was not allowed to operate into West Berlin until 1990), using Airbus A320 aircraft, which had recently been added to the fleet, replacing the Boeing 737 short-haul airliners. In the early 2000s, the Berlin business was moved to Schönefeld Airport.

2000–2009[edit]

From 2000 onwards, the Condor shares held by Lufthansa were gradually acquired by Thomas Cook.[3] The process of transforming Condor from a Lufthansa subsidiary to a part of Thomas Cook (along with Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines (Belgium) and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia) began with the rebranding as Thomas Cook powered by Condor on 1 March 2003.[3] A new livery was introduced, featuring the Thomas Cook logo on the aircraft tail and the word "Condor" written in the font used by Thomas Cook Airlines. On 23 January 2004, Condor became part of Thomas Cook AG and returned to the Condor brand name.[3] By December 2006, the remaining Lufthansa shares only amounted to 24.9 percent,[3] so that the last influence (by a blocking minority) was lost.

On 20 September 2007, shortly after having taken over LTU International, Air Berlin announced its intention to acquire Condor in a share swap deal. It was intended to buy the 75.1 percent of Condor shares held by Thomas Cook, with the remaining Lufthansa assest being acquired in 2010. In return, Thomas Cook would take up 29.99 percent of the Air Berlin stock.[4] On 11 September 2008, the plan was abandoned.[3]

2010-present[edit]

A Boeing 757-300 approaching Frankfurt Airport. This airplane is painted in a special color scheme created by James Rizzi, commemorating Condor's 50th birthday in 2010.

In December 2010, Thomas Cook Group chose the Airbus A320 family as preferred short-medium haul aircraft type for its airlines, with a review concerning the longhaul aircraft scheduled for 2011.[5]

On 17 September 2012, the airline signed a codeshare agreement with the Mexican low-cost carrier, Volaris.[6] On 12 March 2013, Condor and the Canadian airline WestJet agreed on an interline partnership which will offer customers connecting flights to/from 17 destinations in Canada. This agreement expands the network of both airlines, allowing passengers to connect beyond each airline's own network.[7]

On 4 February 2013, the Thomas Cook Group announced that Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium and Condor would be merged into a single operating segment of the Thomas Cook Group.[8] From 1 October 2013 the Thomas Cook Group will present itself under one unified brand symbol. The aircraft of the Thomas Cook Group Airlines will also obtain the Sunny Heart to their tails. They will be re-varnished in the new corporate color scheme grey, white and yellow. On the aircraft, the Sunny Heart on the tail will symbolize the unification of airline brands within the entire Thomas Cook Group.[9]

Condor currently also refurbishes the cabin on all of its Boeing 767-300 long-haul aircraft. All economy class and premium economy class seats are being replaced with new seats from ZIM FLUGSITZ GmbH. Condor is going to keep its successful Premium Economy Class with more legroom and added services.[10] The new Business Class Seats (Zodiac Aerospace) offer fully automated, angled-lie-flat seats capable of inclining to an angle of 170 degrees with a bed length of 1.80m. The airline is adding seats in its new Business Class section from 18 to 30 seats on three of its Boeing 767 aircraft. New in-flight entertainment include personal screens for all passengers throughout all three classes of service. Condor will implement the RAVE IFE technology of Zodiac In-flight Entertainment. On 27 June 2014, Condor completed the cabin refurbishment for all of its Long-haul Boeing 767 aircraft.[11][12]

Destinations[edit]

Condor Airbus A321 in the blue and white Thomas Cook Group livery
Condor Boeing 757-300 in the new livery

Code-share agreements[edit]

Interline agreements[edit]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Image of the head office at Gateway Gardens, with Condor employees

The company is headquartered in Frankfurt, Hesse.[23]

In January 2010 the airline held a groundbreaking for a new headquarters complex in Gateway Gardens, an office complex located in Flughafen, Frankfurt, across the Bundesautobahn 3 from Frankfurt Airport. Ralf Teckentrup, the CEO of Condor, said that the new headquarters would place the airline's operations closer to Frankfurt Airport. 380 ground employees will work in the building, and pre-flight briefings for about 2,000 flight attendants will be held in the building. Prior to its redevelopment, the land of Gateway Gardens housed residences of families stationed at a U.S. military base.[24]

Groß & Partner and OFB Projektentwicklung developed the seven-floor facility.[25] The 14,600-square-metre (157,000 sq ft) building is situated between the park and the central plaza, in the "Quartier Mondo" area of Gateway Gardens. It houses Condor's corporate headquarters, a training and education center with a flight simulator, and the airline's flight operations facility. 2,700 square metres (29,000 sq ft) of the facility includes small units rented to other tenants and a café and restaurant on the building's first floor. The building opened in the northern hemisphere spring of 2012.[23]

Previously the company was headquartered in Kelsterbach, Hesse.[26][27]

Aircraft maintenance is split between two wholly owned subsidiaries: Condor Technik GmbH (based at Frankfurt Airport with 160 employees) for the medium-long haul Boeing aircraft, and Condor Berlin (based at Berlin Schönefeld Airport with 80 employees) for the short-medium haul Airbus aircraft.

Fleet[edit]

As of February 2015, the Condor fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 15.6 years:[28][29]

Aircraft In Service Orders Notes Seats[30] (C/Y+/Y)
Airbus A320-200 11 1 in retro livery, named "Hans",[31][32] 1 in special livery Simply Saxony, named "Raffael" 180 (-/24/156)[33]
Airbus A321-200 5 2 4 with sharklets; 60 ordered by Thomas Cook Airlines in 2014 210 (-/24/186)
220 (-/24/196)[34]
Boeing 757-300 13 1 in special anniversary livery, named "Willi"[35] 275 (-/26/249)[36]
Boeing 767-300ER 15 1[37] 3 in special liveries, named "Janosch",[38] "Ja zu FRA"[39] and retro livery "Achim",[40] 3 leased from Thomas Cook Airlines UK 245 (30/35/180)
259 (18/35/206)
Total 44 3

Historic fleet[edit]

Over the years, Condor operated the following aircraft types:

Aircraft Introduced Retired Miscellaneous
Airbus A300[41] 1979 1989
Airbus A310[41] 1985 1994
Airbus A319[41] 2011 2011
Airbus A320[41] 1998
Airbus A321[41] 2012
Boeing 707[3]
Boeing 727[3]
Boeing 737-100[41] 1969 1981
Boeing 737-200[41] 1981 1988
Boeing 737-300[41] 1987 2003
Boeing 747-200[41] 1971 1980 D-ABYF and D-ABYH were both sold to Korean Air Lines, the latter being shot down on 1 September 1983 while operating Flight 007.
Boeing 747-400[41] 1993 1996 Leased from Lufthansa
Boeing 757-200[41] 1990 2006 One Boeing 757-200 called "Rizzi Bird", carrying a colorful paint scheme by artist James Rizzi (D-ABNF) retired in 2006[42]
Boeing 757-300[41] 1999
Boeing 767-300[41] 1991
Convair CV-240/440[3][42]
Douglas DC-8[3] 1985 1986
Douglas DC-10-30[41] 1979 2000
Fokker F27 Friendship[3]
Vickers VC.1 Viking[43]
Vickers Viscount[3]

Cabin[edit]

Business Class[edit]

With the refurbishment of its Boeing 767 fleet, Condor changed the name of its upper class cabin from "Comfort Class" to Business Class in 2014.[44] Condor's Business Class is offered on all Boeing 767 aircraft. The seats (Zodiac Aerospace) convert to 170 degrees lie-flat beds with 180 cm in length and a standard seat pitch (in take off mode) of 60-inch (1,500 mm). The seats include power and USB outlets as well as a 15" screen for inflight entertainment.[44] Condor offers separate Business Class check-in counters at all airports that Condor operates long haul flights from. Condor operates RAVE inflight entertainment throughout the whole cabin.

Premium Economy[edit]

Condor operates two different kinds of Premium Economy Class products. The long-haul version (offered on all Boeing 767) offers regular economy class seats from ZIM FLUGSITZ GmbH with 6 in more legroom(36 inch seat pitch),[45] more recline, free access to the inflight entertainment and extra service. Condor's Premium Economy Class on short- and medium-haul flights comes with a free middle seat as well as added services and free meals.

Economy Class[edit]

Condor's long-haul Economy Class is offered on all Boeing 767 aircraft. All seats have a 30-inch (760 mm) seat pitch [46] with a 17-inch (430 mm) width. The middle seats are slightly wider 2-inch (51 mm) than non-middle seats.[47]

In Flight Entertainment[edit]

A personal monitor is available at every seat in all classes giving passengers access to roughly 30 movies, more than 50 TV series, 24 radio channels and hundreds of audio CDs of all genres. All entertainment content is available to passengers in Business and Premium Economy Class. However, Economy Class passengers have only limited access. They get one movie, one TV episode, and the music library.[48]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 17 October 1958, a Deutsche Flugdienst (as the airline was called at that time) Vickers VC.1 Viking (registered D-BELA) on a cargo flight had to carry out a forced landing near Zele in Belgium due to an engine fire. Upon impact, the aircraft caught fire and was destroyed, but all three crew members on board survived.[43]
  • On 31 July 1960, a Deutsche Flugdienst Convair CV-240 (registered D-BELU) en route from Frankfurt to Rimini experienced failures in both engines upon approaching Rimini Airport. The pilots had to carry out an emergency landing 1000 metres short of the runway, which resulted in the death of one passenger (out of 30, with additional four crew members on board) and the aircraft being written off.[42]
  • On 20 July 1970, a Condor Boeing 737-100 (registered D-ABEL) which was approaching Reus Airport, collided with a privately owned Piper Cherokee light aircraft (registration EC-BRU) near Tarragona, Spain. The Piper subsequently crashed, resulting in the death of the three persons on board. The Condor Boeing suffered only minor damage, and there were no injuries amongst the 95 passengers and 5 crew members.[49][50]
  • On 24 June 1992, a Condor Boeing 767-300 (registered D-ABUZ) took a wrong turn after departing Porlamar Airport in Venezuela on a charter flight back to Germany, resulting in an overflight of mountainous terrain at a low altitude. The aircraft hit a TV mast on top of El Copey (with 890 metres the second highest peak on Isla Margarita) with its left wing. The wing was substantially damaged (but could later be repaired), and the pilots managed to return to Porlamar Airport, without any of the 251 passengers and 12 crew members on board being injured.[52]

Trivia[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
  1. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 68. 
  2. ^ Historical Dollar to Deutsche Mark exchange rates
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Information about Condor at the Aero Transport Data Bank
  4. ^ Flightglobal: Air Berlin consolidates market position with Condor takeover. Published online on 24 September 2007.
  5. ^ Thomas Cook Group Preliminary Results 2010
  6. ^ "Condor und mexikanische Volaris schließen Partnerschaft". 17 September 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Condor and WestJet agree on interline partnership |url=http://www.condor.com/us/fileadmin/dam/pdf/tcf-us/06_The_Company/02_Press/130312_WestJet_engl.pdf%7Caccessdate=12 March 2013|date=12 March 2013
  8. ^ Reuters: Thomas Cook shakes up airline business. Published online on 5 February 2013.
  9. ^ 740KVOR: The Thomas Cook Group Unites as One Team With New 'Sunny Heart' Brand Published online on 1 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Condor Premium Economy Class; Condor Air Lines". www.condor.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  11. ^ - New Cabins for Condor's Entire Long-Haul Fleet.
  12. ^ - New Cabins for Condor's Entire Long-Haul Fleet
  13. ^ Condor and Mexican Airline Volaris enter Pertnership
  14. ^ Condor and WestJet agree on Interline Pertnership
  15. ^ Condor further expands route network: Seattle available from summer 2011
  16. ^ Condor enters into a marketing collaboration with Air North
  17. ^ Condor expands South America Programme
  18. ^ Condor expands partnership with Brazilian airline GOL
  19. ^ Condor and Bahamasair form partnership
  20. ^ Condor: New partnership with Air Dolomiti
  21. ^ Condor News
  22. ^ Condor: Announces Interline Agreement With Sun Country Airlines®
  23. ^ a b "Condor’s headquarters"
  24. ^ "Fairplay Sustainability Report 2007." Fraport. 6. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  25. ^ "CONDOR FLUGDIENST GMBH." Gateway Gardens. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  26. ^ "How to find us." Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011. "Condor Flugdienst GmbH Am Grünen Weg 1 – 3 65451 Kelsterbach GERMANY" and "Condor Flugdienst GmbH (location Oberursel) Thomas-Cook-Platz 1 61440 Oberursel GERMANY" and "Condor Berlin GmbH Airport Berlin-Schönefeld Postfach 12521 Berlin GERMANY" and "Condor Technik GmbH Cargo City Süd, Gebäude 507 60549 Frankfurt/Airport GERMANY"
  27. ^ "How to find us in Kelsterbach."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  28. ^ http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/airline/CFG#al_profile_tab_fleet
  29. ^ 14 February 2014. "Condor Fleet in Planespotters.net". planespotters.net. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  30. ^ condor.com - Unsere Flotte Retrieved on 18 February 2015.
  31. ^ Condor Hans on airliners.net
  32. ^ Condor Airbus gets nostalgic makeover (PDF; 26 kB)
  33. ^ http://www.condor.com/us/the-company/our-fleet/technical-data-of-the-airbus-a320-200.jsp
  34. ^ http://www.condor.com/us/the-company/our-fleet/technical-data-of-the-airbus-a321-200.jsp
  35. ^ Condor's Willi on airliners.net
  36. ^ http://www.condor.com/us/the-company/our-fleet/technical-data-of-the-boeing-757-300.jsp
  37. ^ Condor Airlines
  38. ^ Condor Celebrates Special Janosch Themed Livery
  39. ^ Airline Reporter
  40. ^ Airliners.net
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Condor historic fleet table at airfleets.net
  42. ^ a b c Good Bye To Condor's Last B757-200 (ex-Rizzi Bird)
  43. ^ a b 1958 Deutsche Flugdienst accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  44. ^ a b http://www.airlinereporter.com/2014/10/flight-review-checking-condor-airlines-business-class-frankfurt/
  45. ^ http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Condor_Flugdienst/fleetinfo.php
  46. ^ http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Condor_Flugdienst/Condor_Flugdienst_Boeing_767-300ER_V2.php
  47. ^ http://www.airlinereporter.com/?attachment_id=31936
  48. ^ http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Condor_Flugdienst/Condor_Flugdienst_Boeing_767-300ER_V3.php
  49. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 1)
  50. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 2)
  51. ^ Condor flight 3782 at the Aviation Safety Network
  52. ^ 1992 Porlamar incident at the Aviation Safety Network
  53. ^ "Condor safety instructions feature Paris Hilton, Elvis and Michael Schumacher." Condor. 4 April 2011. Retrieved on 9 November 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Condor Airlines at Wikimedia Commons