TUI Group has agreed to sell its French scheduled carrier Corsair to a German airline investor for an undisclosed sum.
The German tourism giant has been looking to offload the airline for years as it doesn’t fit with the rest of the company’s business.
Intro Aviation is buying a 53 per cent stake, TUI will initially retain a minority stake of 27 per cent, while Corsair’s employee benefit trust will take a 20 per cent stake.
TUI CEO Fritz Joussen recently said an airline was “essential” for the overall business and this deal doesn’t really change that.
TUI’s core group of five charter airlines in the UK, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and The Nordics, continue to serve the wider tourism business, flying TUI customers to hotels and cruise ships across the world.
Corsair, as a scheduled carrier, was always an outlier and wasn’t part of TUI’s recent major rebrand.
TUI came close to selling Corsair to The Dubreuil Group, owner of rival airline Air Caraibes, in 2015 but talks collapsed.
“We are consistently transforming TUI to focus on tourism, its core business. Here, we are investing in hotels and cruise ships, and increasingly in holiday experiences in the destinations. These are segments in which we are growing, and where we are continuing to expand our global activities,” said Joussen.
“We are exiting non-core business areas that do not leverage any synergies for the Group. The sale is the right move for TUI and will also benefit Corsair and its staff.”
TUI took control of Corsair when it bought French tour operator Nouvelles Frontieres in 2002. Since then it has struggled to find a place for it within the wider company. TUI rebranded it as Corsairfly, painting it in the TUI colors, before reverting back to Corsair.
Corsair has a fleet of seven aircraft, including three Boeing 747s, and flies to long-haul destinations mainly in the Caribbean, Africa and Indian Ocean.
TUI’s other airlines have close to 150 aircraft in total.