Thomas Cook considers selling its airline business

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Thomas Cook UK Airbus A321

Thomas Cook is conducting a “strategic review” of its airline as it seeks to raise cash to invest more in its hotels business. The review was at an early stage, but “all options” are considered, including a sale.

Thomas Cook operates a fleet of 103 aircraft, either owned or leased, through four divisions (Scandinavia, UK, Germany, Balearics) operating under the Condor name in Germany and Thomas Cook elsewhere. Just under half of its airline seats are used by the tour operator’s own customers, with the remainder sold to competitors and to the public. A quarter of the fleet flies long-haul.

Thomas Cook in 2017 already sold its Belgian airline (including two A320 aircraft) to Brussels Airlines. One hundred sixty crew also made the move.

easyJet, Lufthansa, IAG and Ryanair could be interested in different parts of the airline business.

Thomas Cook’s airlines are largely profitable. They made earnings before financing costs and tax of £129 million last year. The company would use the proceed of the sale to reinforce its hotel business.”Thomas Cook doesn’t need to own an airline outright to be a successful holiday company,” Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said.

Thomas Cook is in that way quite different from its arch-rival TUI, which is successfully expanding its airline business year after year.

 

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