Thomas Cook Group Plc is considering teaming up with Deutsche Lufthansa AG as the German carrier expands its Eurowings discount operation into long-haul flights.
“We’re watching the developments at Eurowings,” Jens Boyd, who manages long-haul operations at Thomas Cook’s German Condor unit and the company’s namesake U.K. airline business, said in an interview Friday. “If there’s an interesting model for a partnership, we’d be open to that.”
Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr has said he views Eurowings as a vehicle for cooperation and consolidation with other carriers in Europe, as well as vital in establishing a lower cost base. While the focus is on short-haul routes, he’s also pushing into long-haul tourism both through the Cologne- based low-cost arm and new leisure destinations served by the namesake brand.
A partnership might help Condor defend its flights from Germany to the Caribbean amid increasing competition. No talks have yet taken place on the topic, Boyd said.
Air Berlin Plc will start serving Havana from Dusseldorf next summer, while Lufthansa plans routes to Panama City and the Mexican resort of Cancun from Frankfurt, as well as to Varadero in Cuba and Punta Cana and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic from Cologne. The cities are all Condor destinations.
Spohr has said that Lufthansa plans to deploy as many as 14 older Airbus Group SE A340 aircraft to warm-water destinations, while Eurowings’ new long-haul fleet will number around seven Airbus A330s.
Boyd said that Condor is ready to meet the challenge posed by what he says are “extreme” capacity increases coupled with “very aggressive” prices. The executive spoke before the carrier’s inaugural flight to Santa Clara, its fourth destination in Cuba after Havana, Varadero and Holguin.
“We must maintain our profitability,” he said. “We are a very economically-run company. There are always hypes, but the Caribbean enjoys very strong base demand.”
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