It started with coffee from paper cups: the meeting point was in front of the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, while cafes did not offer any seats for guests during the Corona lockdown in late autumn 2020.

The future planning for the vacation airline Condor began without a chair and a table.

Christoph Debus, Chief Financial Officer of Condor, and Peter Smeets, Managing Director of the aviation consultant 360 Aircraft Finance, stood with cups in the middle of Frankfurt.

Three quarters of a year later, the Condor majority has been sold, the financial investor Attestor has acquired 51 percent and holds an option for a full takeover.

“The goal must be to expand in Europe.

The Condor management and we see a realistic opportunity to expand the fleet to 60 to 65 aircraft in the medium term, ”says Smeets.

There are currently almost 50.

Timo Kotowski

Editor in business.

  • Follow I follow

Many names were circulating around the rescue: the parent company Thomas Cook, whose end led Condor to the abyss. The Polish airline Lot, which at the beginning of the pandemic did not want to buy anymore despite the conclusion of a contract. The financial investors Bain and Apollo, who were involved in the bidding rounds, and the investor attestor. In the end, he got the contract. In the background: Smeets and his business partner Christophe Mostert from 360 Aircraft Finance (360AF). In the new start of society, which has been flying Germans on vacation since the 1950s, they see a kind of masterpiece for the Frankfurt-based consulting firm. “Condor has had years of crisis, Thomas Cook crisis, investor crisis, Corona crisis. But behind this there is a functioning business model, other airlines are having a harder time here, ”says Mostert."In the next twelve to 24 months, the rebirth of Condor will be recognizable for everyone."

Less fuel for climate and costs

A visible sign will be 16 new Airbus A330neo with fuel-efficient engine configuration, which will replace more than 25-year-old Boeing 767 pilots with financial support from Attestor.

Elsewhere, years pass before the jet is swapped, with Condor the first new plane should be on the road in just under a year.

Even before that there is probably a hint of change, for a transitional phase individual rented A330neo with conventional engine equipment should be used in order to make the large-scale exchange go smoothly.

"All airlines need more modern aircraft to reduce costs," says Mostert.

“Fuel consumption is not just a big issue because of the climate debate.

The kerosene price will soon be back to 2019 levels.

The number of passengers is still far from there because of the pandemic. "

In my private life it's more about the little things

Smeets and Mostert rely on the fact that the need for change and advice will increase. Professionally, both have been involved in aviation for a long time. Lawyer Smeets did his PhD on aviation finance risks, worked for the large law firm Freshfields before going freelance. Mostert is a business IT specialist, worked on cost reductions after the Lufthansa privatization, before he advised airlines and airports.

In their private lives they are interested in smaller companions. Triathlete Smeets rides his bike up mountains that others can only climb on foot. The fact that it is not always easy for airlines to transport a sports bike in a special transport box is part of the hobby. Mostert has been passionate about sailing since he went to school on the island of Spiekeroog. But he also sits in the cockpit from time to time, has practiced gliding on the Wasserkuppe.