To The Big Apple: Condor Announces New York Flights

Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, has put on sale a five-weekly service between Frankfurt – the carrier’s main airport…

To The Big Apple: Condor Announces New York Flights

Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, has put on sale a five-weekly service between Frankfurt – the carrier’s main airport – and New York JFK. Revolving around weekend breaks to the Big Apple, it won’t be the first time it has served the route. It has been lured back from surging demand and almost 10,000 fewer weekly seats from no Singapore Airlines or Delta at the moment.

Condor operated Frankfurt-JFK on a low-capacity basis in 2016 and most years since. Photo: Oliver Holzbauer via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Starting on November 11th, the 3,351 nautical mile route – ordinarily the 15th-largest non-stop market between the US and Europe – has the following schedule, with all times local.

  • DE2016: Frankfurt-JFK, 11:10-14:00
  • DE2017: JFK-Frankfurt, 16:25-05:50+1 (the next day)

It’ll operate Thursdays to Mondays, designed for long weekend getaways to the Big Apple as Christmastime approaches, until January 9th. The B767-300ER will be used. Although which specific configuration will be deployed isn’t known, the type has three layouts, each with 35 seats in premium economy, between 18 and 30 in business, and from 180 to 202 in economy.

Condor 767
This specific aircraft is 27.5 years old and is no longer operated by Condor. Having been with China Xinjiang, Eurofly, Alitalia, and Condor, it is now with Atlas Air as N664GT. Photo: Thomas Boon – Simple Flying.

Why is it happening?

Condor’s JFK route is happening for two main reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the US will welcome fully vaccinated citizens from most of Europe, including Germany, from November, which has resulted in burgeoning demand.

Secondly, despite this surge, 54% fewer seats were planned each week in November than previously – a drop of almost 10,000 every week. This is from neither Singapore Airlines nor Delta operating then (see later).

The US opening up once more should help Europe’s stalled recovery and boost the performance of the major US and European network carriers. After all, in normal times, the transatlantic market to the US contributes a significant proportion of their overall profitability. This opening up wasn’t lost on Condor’s CEO, Ralf Teckentrup, who said:

“After the announcement that people from the EU would be able to travel to the USA without any complications the demand for US flights has more than doubled.”

Singapore Airlines, Airbus A380, Return
Singapore Airlines’ long-standing Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK route is presently bookable from January 2nd. Photo: Getty Images.

Frankfurt to JFK; a one million seat market

Frankfurt to JFK is a highly mature market that, by definition, has seen very little growth or change in airlines in the past 17 years. It has had more or less one million seats for a long time. The lack of development is such that in 2019 it had just 1% more non-stop seats than in 2004. No real change normally means strong performance.

In the week that Condor begins, it’ll compete head-to-head with a 14-weekly offering by Lufthansa, with seven-weekly flights by both the 255-seat A330-300 and 364-seat B747-8s. Its 747-8s have eight first-class seats, 80 in business, 32 in premium economy, and 244 in economy.

The development of Frankfurt to JFK
Primera Air had planned to shake up the market by beginning it in summer 2019, along with Frankfurt to Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. However, the carrier ceased to exist in 2018. Source of data: OAG.

Singapore Airlines and Delta will be returning

Singapore Airlines has operated Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK – with fifth-freedom traffic rights – for many years, and since 2014, it has been solely by the A380. It is currently bookable from January 2nd, a week before Condor ends the route, again by the A380.

Delta, meanwhile, had a 15.4% share of the market in 2019. Its once-daily service is bookable from Frankfurt on December 6th, with the 234-seat A330-200 – Delta’s least-used aircraft – plying the route. Condor is benefiting from this capacity gap, but mainly from no Singapore Airlines.

Have you flown between JFK and Frankfurt? Let us know your experiences by commenting.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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2 Years On: Remembering Thomas Cook Airlines

September 23rd, 2019, marked the end of Thomas Cook Airlines. It was on this day, exactly two years…

2 Years On: Remembering Thomas Cook Airlines

September 23rd, 2019, marked the end of Thomas Cook Airlines. It was on this day, exactly two years ago, that bankruptcy was declared, stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers. In the days leading up to the declaration, the airline had been meeting with key players, desperately hoping to avoid a total collapse. Let’s take a look back at Thomas Cook Airlines and how it finally came undone.

Thomas Cook Airlines was a leisure-focused carrier based in the UK. Photo: Getty Images

£200m needed for survival

In the days leading up to Thomas Cook’s declaration of bankruptcy, the firm had been on a desperate search for £200m of extra funding. As we reported two years ago, the carrier’s leadership filled the office of a London law firm on September 22nd to meet with the airline’s largest shareholder, a Chinese conglomerate by the name of Fosun.

Despite working late into the night, no progress was made, forcing Thomas Cook Airlines to officially declare bankruptcy just after 02:00 London time.

Flights stopped operating, ticket sales were halted, and one of the UK’s largest repatriation efforts was soon to begin as over a hundred thousand UK-based Thomas Cook customers would find themselves stranded abroad.

2 Years On: Remembering Thomas Cook Airlines
British tourists, clients of the Thomas Cook travel group, are photographed waiting at counters to be repatriated, at the Heraclion airport on the island of Crete, on September 24, 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Stranded travelers look to be repatriated

With hundreds of thousands of Thomas Cook customers affected, panic took hold at many airports and hotels. For some, travel insurance would be the solution. For others who had booked a package holiday through a travel agent, government-led repatriation would be the answer.

Indeed, repatriation was conducted for package holiday holders because of Thomas Cook’s status as an ATOL holder, or Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. Each ATOL holder is required to pay a £2.50 fee for each passenger within a booking. This money goes to a fund owned by the Air Travel Trust, which is set aside for situations such as these.

An impressively large-scale operation, the Thomas Cook collapse prompted the UK’s biggest repatriation since WW2. Dubbed ‘Operation Matterhorn,’ over 150,000 Thomas Cook passengers were flown back to the UK using wet-leased aircraft, and aircraft from other airlines.

Discussing the operation, UK Civil Aviation Authority head Richard Moriarty called it “the largest peacetime repatriation ever [requiring] an extraordinary effort from all involved.” Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of UK’s CAA, described it as “12-hour shifts, no weekends, doing something you’ve never done before.”

Malaysia A380
A Malaysian Airlines A380 was secured as part of repatriation efforts. Photo: Airbus

Finding available aircraft was particularly difficult at the time, and made worse by the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. However, Matterhorn teams prevailed, securing the services of A380s from both Hi Fly and Malaysian Airlines, among dozens of other aircraft.

According to Travel Daily News, over 130 aircraft were involved as part of the Matterhorn fleet. Indeed, on October 2nd alone, 42 flights operated to bring back around 6,500 passengers. Furthermore, a whopping 127,000 travelers were flown back to the UK in the first ten days of the operation.

What happened to Thomas Cook’s aircraft?

Most of the airline’s Airbus A321s were returned to their lessors. These companies were Air Lease Corporation, Aviation Capital Group, Aviation PLC, Avolon, BBAM, Castlelake, Carlyle Aviation Partners, and ICBC. Certain examples went straight to other airlines, such as SmartLynx and Avion Express. One A321, registered G-TCDZ, was scrapped.

thomas cook a321
Most Airbus A321s were returned to lessors. Photo: Bernd K Wikimedia Commons

Some of the airline’s A330-200s were scrapped after the collapse. The jets torn down in Manchester in February 2021 were registered G-MDBD, G-MLJL, and G-OMYT. Meanwhile, four A330s were returned to lessors. One went back to Air Lease Corporation, with the remaining three to Aviation Capital Group.

Given everything that has happened in the world of aviation since Thomas Cook’s collapse, the airline’s demise feels like a distant and faded dream and something relatively minuscule compared to what would take place six months later. With its long history, the airline will be remembered fondly by many.

Were you affected by Thomas Cook Airlines’ collapse? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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