European bloodbath dumps aircraft back into market

Sept. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: As many as 135 Airbus and Boeing jets could be dumped on the market following the bankruptcies or cessation of operations of five airlines and a financially distressed sixth carrier that is a subsidiary of one of the bankrupt ones.

Thomas Cook, the travel company that is parent to Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Scandinavia and Condor Airlines declared insolvency Monday. The two Thomas Cook airlines ceased operations.

Condor maintained service for now and received an emergency loan of €380m loan from the German government. But its long-term survival may depend on acquisition by the Lufthansa Group.

Blood bath

Eighteen airlines globally ceased operations since the first of the year, but this past 10 days has been a European blood bath.

Five airlines ceased operations: Aigle Airlines, two of three Thomas Cook carriers, France’s XL Airways and Adria.

Adria operated a mixed fleet of regional jets and three Airbus A319s.

23 Comments on “European bloodbath dumps aircraft back into market

  1. Their Scandinavian subsidiaries have already several suitors so I would expect the aircraft to remain flying there.

    • Thomas Cook Scandinavia continues to fly as normal. There is no disruption to the service, and new package holidays are sold.

  2. This will not end in a doomsday scenario!

    One major provider of package holidays has collapset, but this does not mean that the Europeans will stop travelling.
    This marked will be taken by other providers, they will also need the same number of one class single aisle planes/high density single aisles.
    Thomas Cook Scandinavia is a healthy business and will probably restart within a few days.
    Condor will live forever – however the 767 fleet is approaching 25 years in average,- while the 757-300 fleet is just below 20 years. Should Condor not survive will those old planes not destroy any market.
    Adria a small regional carrier with 3 planes (!), – will not disturb any market.

    But my point is: Europeans will keep buying travel packages, and they will need planes to move from Northern Europe to countries around the Mediterranean. And they will need the same number of planes.


  3. I wonder how many people will take this opportunity to dump their 737 MAX orders and scoop up these planes.

    • There’s 86 A320 variants available. That’d make a decent fleet for an airline currently bereft of large numbers of MAXs. It would be a massive change for an airline like Southwest, but this is an advantage. It’s big enough to be not piecemeal, and fast enough that the period of disruption associated with the change is minimised. Used as a bootstrap for a complete conversion to Airbus, it could work; having got an economically useful fleet over a short period of time, the rest can slowly trickle in from new purchases from Airbus as and when they can be manufactured.

      I wondering they’re tempted at all? If they don’t snaffle them, someone else will

    • Will the fire-sale price compensate for the lower efficiency and therefore higher running cost of these aging planes?

      • Possibly, and then again perhaps not. The importance of that would diminish with time. If your airline is part grounded and worsening because no new aircraft are being delivered, at some point in time you’re going to start worrying about fleet size, not fleet efficiency.

        For companies like Southwest and Ryanair, fleet size will become their biggest, existential problem. You can’t run an airline without planes. You might not make a profit with old planes, but that’s better than nothing and is survivable.

        The trick for these airlines will be deciding when to act. I guess at the moment they have been following Boeing’s advice that certification will be resorted in September. It’s now the 27th, and no word yet. It would be a mistake to assume that Boeing would give long range warning that the MAX program is going to be scrapped; they are committed to it and almost have no choice. They’re not going to admit total failure until it’s obvious for all to see. That might be too late for Ryanair and Southwest.

        A way to give a positive indication to airlines would be to resolve the apparent disagreement with world regulators about how to fix the problem with the MAX. So far all we’re hearing is that they’re disagreeing with some important regulators. If they keep disagreeing, the MAX is not going to fly.

  4. bottom feeders like Air Canada would love the 767s. So if Condor goes under those planes might have a new home.

    • 25yo 767s? I don’t think so. AC is pretty well equipped with 787s now.

      The A330s should be newer and of interest to someone.

      • I bet AC will buy the 330’s, they have been snapping them up recently. They already have a big fleet with the Transat acquistion, they may choose to add, optimize based on the available pricing.

  5. Mark: As most are leased and the total affect will be scattered, the answer is none.

    This is not a short term Knee jerk business where you can shift on a dime.

    The one airline that did change its mind had a deep history of and current fleet of Airbus products.

  6. There were actually five Thomas Cook carriers if you believe Wikipedia – two German (including Condor), one Spanish, one UK, one Danish.

  7. Cant see Norwegian lasting much longer as these events will destroy any confidence lenders would have in the sector – yes they arent a package tour company.

  8. Most of those B767s will end up being converted into cargo aircraft and quickly picked by almost all or some of the cargo airlines in the USA with few s of those aircraft going to the charter side of business also with bases in the US.

  9. The leisure travel industry is undergoing change as the old fashioned package holiday continues to decline. Companies that don’t change with it will fail. Thomas Cook is an example. There are and will be others.

    As someone else said, people in Europe are still travelling for leisure. There isn’t any weakness in the market just a change in the market. My perception is that people are being more adventurous and going to places much further away.

    This will bring a change in the mix of airplanes that are needed for leisure travel. But airplanes are still needed and a lot of them.

    It’s change not weakness.

  10. Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia have been up and flying since Tuesday. Did not fly on Monday, I guess (based on conversations with Thomas Cook – trade under Ving name in Sweden – staff) it took a day to untangle it from Thomas Cook Airlines UK.

    Thomas Cook Nordic is healthy and has made good profits for several/many years, but then they have been *sliiiightly* better than Thomas Cook UK at reshaping themselves for a reality where internet exists.

    We can expect them to operate for years to come, but under a different owner. Thus, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia will have a customer.

    They have 13 aircraft.


  11. I thought Condor was owned by LH. If they buy it, it may live on. Unless LH decides to close it.

    • The 757-300 must be an odd ball aircraft in terms of pilot training, maintenance, spares, engine overhauls etc. But it has 288 seats to spread the costs.. a real NMA 🙂

      Even if theCondor company lives on, LH would probably re-equip it with the much lower cost, quieter 737-10 or A321 ASAP.

      Delta seems the airline able to create economies of scale / efficiency with legacy aircraft like the 757-300. Like they do/did with DC9, MD90, DC10’s, 717, 764.

      • No Lufthansa wouldnt give them brand new aircraft. Thats the package tour model, with older aircraft. The passengers dont care about the planes life , its the holiday experience. Its a quaint idea that you must maintain fully all your planes in your own organisation, Im sure they can send the planes for some specialised 757 shop anywhere in the world.

        • Pickle fork.Could just be another problem for Boeing to deal with or even a spoof,baring in mind that the information comes from one little known sorce.On the other hand, anyone with a viable single isle could be in a very good place.

        • “Im sure they can send the planes for some specialised 757 shop anywhere in the world.”


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