Condor Flugdienst

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For the 1920s transatlantic airline, see Syndicato Condor.
Condor Airlines (Condor Flugdienst GmbH)
Condor Airlines.svg
IATA
DE
ICAO
CFG
Callsign
CONDOR
Founded 1955
Commenced operations 1956
Hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Miles & More
Airport lounge
Fleet size 42
Destinations 77 (54 of which are year-round)
Company slogan
'Wir lieben Fliegen.' (German)
'Born to fly.' (English)
Parent company Deutsche Lufthansa (formerly) Thomas Cook Group
Headquarters Frankfurt, Germany
Key people Ralf Teckentrup, CEO
Website www.condor.com

Condor Flugdienst GmbH, usually shortened to Condor, is an airline based in Frankfurt, Germany, operating scheduled leisure flights to 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 headquartered in Frankfurt, Hesse, with an important branch office in Schönefeld. It is a subsidiary of the UK 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 its Business Lounge at Frankfurt Airport. It is the only airline of the Thomas Cook Group that is not a charter carrier.

Condor is Germany's third largest commercial airline based on fleet size and passengers flown.

History[edit]

1955–1959: The beginnings[edit]

A 1980 stamp from West-Germany, depicting the first aircraft operated by Condor in 1955, a Fokker F27 Friendship.
Condor Vickers Viking 1B cargo aircraft operating for Lufthansa Cargo in 1964

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]

A Condor Boeing 707 at Düsseldorf Airport in 1978.
A Condor Boeing 747-200 at Gran Canaria Airport (1978). This aircraft was destroyed in the disaster of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in 1983.

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]

A Condor Airbus A310 at Hannover Airport (1985).

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 adds 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]

A Condor Airbus A320-200 in 2004, featuring the livery with the "Thomas Cook" titles that was introduced in the 1990s.

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]

On 17 September 2012, the airline announced a codeshare agreement with the Mexican low-cost carrier, Volaris.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] From October 1, 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.[8]

Condor codeshares on selected Thomas Cook Airlines flights to Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas from airports in the United Kingdom.[9]

Destinations[edit]

Code-share agreements[edit]

Interline agreements[edit]

Corporate affairs[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.

The company is headquartered in Frankfurt, Hesse.[20]

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.[21]

Groß & Partner and OFB Projektentwicklung developed the seven-floor facility.[22] 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.[20]

Previously the company was headquartered in Kelsterbach, Hesse.[23][24]

Safety video[edit]

The current airline safety video features lookalikes of various celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin, the Queen of England, Elvis Presley, Michael Schumacher, Paris Hilton, Marilyn Monroe, and Neil Armstrong. The video was first played on 1 April 2011.[25]

Fleet[edit]

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

As of April 2014, the Condor fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 15.2 years:[26][27]

Aircraft In Service Ordered Miscellaneous Seats[28]
(C/Y+/Y)
Airbus A320-200 12 1 in retro livery, named "Hans"[29][30] 174 (-/32/142)
Airbus A321-200 3 2 2 with sharklets; 60 ordered by Thomas Cook Airlines in 2014 210 (-/36/174)
Boeing 737-800 2 Leased from Sunexpress Germany, with winglets
Boeing 757-300 13 1 in special anniversary livery, named "Willi"[31] 265 (-/32/233)
Boeing 767-300ER 13 3 3 in special liveries, named "Janosch",[32] "Ja zu FRA"[33] and retro livery "Achim"[34] Transfered from Thomas Cook Airlines 245 (30/35/180)
259 (18/35/206)
Total 43 5

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 development[edit]

A Condor Airbus A300 at Frankfurt Airport (1988).
A Condor Boeing 737-300 at Düsseldorf Airport (1989).
A Condor Boeing 747-400 at Frankfurt Airport (1994).

Over the years, Condor operated the following aircraft types:

Aircraft Introduced Retired Miscellaneous
Airbus A300[35] 1979 1989
Airbus A310[35] 1985 1994
Airbus A319[35] 2011 2011
Airbus A320[35] 1998
Airbus A321[35] 2012
Boeing 707[3]
Boeing 727[3]
Boeing 737-100[35] 1969 1981
Boeing 737-200[35] 1981 1988
Boeing 737-300[35] 1987 2003
Boeing 747-200[35] 1971 1980 D-ABYF and D-ABYH were both sold to Korean Air Lines, the latter being shot down on September 1, 1983 while operating Flight 007.
Boeing 747-400[35] 1993 1996 Leased from Lufthansa
Boeing 757-200[35] 1990 2006 One Boeing 757-200 called "Rizzi Bird", carrying a colorful paint scheme by artist James Rizzi (D-ABNF) retired in 2006[36]
Boeing 757-300[35] 1999
Boeing 767-300[35] 1991
Convair CV-240/440[3][36]
Douglas DC-8[3] 1985 1986
Douglas DC-10-30[35] 1979 2000
Fokker F27 Friendship[3]
Vickers VC.1 Viking[37]
Vickers Viscount[3]

Thomas Cook Group announced in December 2010 that it had chosen the Airbus A320 as preferred short-medium haul aircraft type for its airlines, with a review concerning the longhaul aircraft scheduled for 2011.[38]

Cabin refurbishment[edit]

Condor will refurbish 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.[39] 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 June 27, 2014 Condor announced the completion of the cabin refurbishment for all of its Long-haul Boeing 767 aircraft.[40][41]

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.[37]
  • 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.[36]
  • 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.[42][43]
  • On 2 January 1988 at 19:18 local time, Condor Flugdienst Flight 3782, a Boeing 737-200 (registered D-ABHD) on a chartered service from Stuttgart to Izmir, crashed into a hill near Seferihisar whilst approaching Adnan Menderes Airport, killing all 11 passengers and 5 crew members on board. A flawed ILS-approach was given as cause for the accident .[44]
  • 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.[45]

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. ^ "Condor und mexikanische Volaris schließen Partnerschaft". 17 September 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Reuters: Thomas Cook shakes up airline business. Published online on 5 February 2013.
  8. ^ 740KVOR: The Thomas Cook Group Unites as One Team With New 'Sunny Heart' Brand Published online on 1 October 2013.
  9. ^ http://www.airlineinfo.com/Sites/DailyAirline/web-content/ostdocket2012/ost20120187.html
  10. ^ Condor and Mexican Airline Volaris enter Pertnership
  11. ^ Condor and WestJet agree on Interline Pertnership
  12. ^ Condor further expands route network: Seattle available from summer 2011
  13. ^ Condor enters into a marketing collaboration with Air North
  14. ^ Condor expands South America Programme
  15. ^ Condor expands partnership with Brazilian airline GOL
  16. ^ Condor and Bahamasair form partnership
  17. ^ Condor: New partnership with Air Dolomiti
  18. ^ Condor News
  19. ^ Condor: Announces Interline Agreement With Sun Country Airlines®
  20. ^ a b "Condor’s headquarters"
  21. ^ "Fairplay Sustainability Report 2007." Fraport. 6. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  22. ^ "CONDOR FLUGDIENST GMBH." Gateway Gardens. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  23. ^ "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"
  24. ^ "How to find us in Kelsterbach."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  25. ^ "Condor safety instructions feature Paris Hilton, Elvis and Michael Schumacher." Condor. 4 April 2011. Retrieved on 9 November 2011.
  26. ^ Condor - The Company - Our Fleet
  27. ^ 14 February 2014. "Condor Fleet in Planespotters.net". planespotters.net. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  28. ^ condor.com - Unsere Flotte abgerufen am 30. November 2013
  29. ^ Condor Hans on airliners.net
  30. ^ Condor Airbus gets nostalgic makeover (PDF; 26 kB)
  31. ^ Condor's Willi on airliners.net
  32. ^ Condor Celebrates Special Janosch Themed Livery
  33. ^ Airline Reporter
  34. ^ Airliners.net
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Condor historic fleet table at airfleets.net
  36. ^ a b c Good Bye To Condor's Last B757-200 (ex-Rizzi Bird)
  37. ^ a b 1958 Deutsche Flugdienst accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  38. ^ Thomas Cook Group Preliminary Results 2010
  39. ^ "Condor Premium Economy Class; Condor Air Lines". www.condor.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  40. ^ - New Cabins for Condor's Entire Long-Haul Fleet.
  41. ^ - New Cabins for Condor's Entire Long-Haul Fleet
  42. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 1)
  43. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 2)
  44. ^ Condor flight 3782 at the Aviation Safety Network
  45. ^ 1992 Porlamar incident at the Aviation Safety Network

External links[edit]