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Condor’s inaugural flight to Austin touches down after an 11-hour flight from Frankfurt. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

German Airline Condor Announces Staff Reductions

The COVID-19 pandemic will claim more jobs in the airline industry. German low-cost carrier Condor Airlines has announced that it will be reducing its staff load by 15-25%, an airline executive has announced in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The move will affect between 650 and 1,000 jobs at the company. Specific departments where reductions would be made have not been announced. 

Condor was already in a precarious situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline’s owner, Thomas Cook, collapsed into administration in September 2019 as a result of financial difficulties that had plagued the company for a long period of time. Since then, the company has been searching for a new owner after receiving funding to continue operating as a separate entity. A deal was in place for Warsaw, Poland-based operator LOT Polish Airlines to purchase Condor. However, since the pandemic LOT has withdrawn its offer. 

As well as cutting jobs, the airline will also be moving to a smaller headquarters, planning to save 1 million euros ($1.13 million) in real estate costs. The move will be able to happen as the airline no longer has to house employees of former owner Thomas Cook. In addition, approximately 10-15% of the airline’s headquarters staff will continue to work from home even as the pandemic subsides. A timeframe for the move has not been announced, nor has the location of the new headquarters. 

In April the airline received a state-guaranteed loan for 550 million euros to help it weather the crisis. The airline expects that the airline industry will be suffering into 2024 from the current downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. That time horizon is notably longer than the one other major carriers in the U.S. and Europe have set out for total recovery.

Executives also expect that a search for a new owner won’t commence until the end of 2021, at the earliest. However, the airline’s CEO believes another takeover bid by LOT may be possible once the industry recovers. Condor has been particularly hard hit from lockdowns and border closures, as most of its passengers are leisure travelers, unable to travel due to border closures and lockdown measures. 

Other European Airlines Announce Layoffs

Other European airlines have been forced to announce layoffs due to the drop in demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. In Germany, the Lufthansa Group — an airline conglomerate that, in addition to Lufthansa itself, also owns Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, among others — has announced up to 22,000 jobs may need to be cut across four of the group’s airlines in response to the pandemic.

In the UK, both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have announced redundancies due to the drop in demand.

In the U.S., airlines that receive funding from the CARES Act are required to not make involuntary redundancies until Oct. 1. However, most airlines expect to have to cut jobs once the funding runs out.

Daniel Morley
Daniel Morley
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