It’s easy to forget that before a pandemic upended aviation globally and a full-scale war broke out in Eastern Europe, there was a crisis that swept across European airlines. One carrier after another — Germania, WOW Air, Aigle Azur, Adria Airways, XL Airways — all folded in 2019. Most notable among the felled airlines was holiday charter operator Thomas Cook Airlines. When Thomas Cook formally went bankrupt in September 2019, the venerable travel company liquidated, leaving its only profitable chunk, Germany’s Condor Airlines, to find its own way in the world.
An air travel cataclysm was still months away, but the leisure carrier had secured itself a six-month bridging loan from the German Federal Government and the state government of Hesse to carry it through winter 2020 and protection from Thomas Cook’s creditors. “The Condor management will now work out a restructuring plan in order to use the shielding procedure to align and set up Condor for a future without Thomas Cook,” the EU assigned administrator said in October 2019. The same statement also included a comment from Condor managing director Ralf Teckentrup, who noted the summer 2020 “booking situation even surpasses our expectations.”
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