Condor Flugdienst

Condor Flugdienst
This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
Founded 1955
Commenced operations 1956
Hubs Frankfurt Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Miles & More
Fleet size 34
Destinations 77 (54 of which are year-round)
Company slogan
Wir lieben Fliegen. (German)
Born to fly. (international)
Parent company Thomas Cook Group
Headquarters Kelsterbach, Germany

Condor Flugdienst GmbH, usually shortened to Condor, is an airline based in Germany, operating scheduled leisure flights to the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, North America and the Caribbean as part of Thomas Cook Group. Its main base is Frankfurt Airport[1] (from where all longhaul flights depart); secondary bases for Mediterranean flights are Munich Airport, Hamburg Airport, Düsseldorf International Airport, Stuttgart Airport and Berlin Schönefeld Airport. The company is headquartered in Kelsterbach, Hesse, with important branch offices in Oberursel and Schönefeld.[2] It is the only airline of the Thomas Cook Group that it is not a charter carrier.



1955-1959: The beginnings

The company was founded on 21 December 1955 as Deutsche Flugdienst GmbH, its ownership being split between Norddeutscher Lloyd (27.75 %), Hamburg America Line (27.75 %), Deutsche Lufthansa (26 %) and Deutsche Bundesbahn (18.5 %). The initial fleet of three 36-passenger Vickers VC.1 Viking aircraft was based at Frankfurt Airport, the Lufthansa hub. Scheduled flight operations were launched on 29 March 1956 with a pilgrimage flight to Israel. Further destinations flown to during the first year were Majorca and Tenerife. In 1959, Lufthansa took over 95.5 percent of the stake, thus creating its first post-war subsidiary.


In 1961, Deutsche Flugdienst took over its rival Condor-Luftreederei (which had been founded in 1957 by Oetker), subsequently changing its name to Condor Flugdienst GmbH, thus re-introducing the "Condor" name with Lufthansa (there was a Brazilian subsidiary named Syndicato Condor between 1928 and 1943). In 1962, Condor Flugdienst transported ca. 32,000 passengers (18,400 of which to and from Majorca) and had a market share of 63.3 percent in the German leisure air travel. In 1966, the longhaul business was launched, with flights to Thailand, Ceylon, Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

1970-1979: Leading leisure airline

In 1971, Condor became the world's first leisure airline to add the Boeing 747 (at that time the largest passenger aircraft) to its fleet. In 1973, the airline generated a revenue of 291 million DM (then equivalent to 90.8 million USD),[3] surpassing all other leisure airlines worldwide. At that time, the Condor fleet consisted of two Boeing 747-200s, two 707s and ten 727s.


This period saw the launch of the Condor Individuell system, allowing direct flight bookings by passengers without the need of a travel agency. In 1989, SunExpress was founded as a co-operation between Condor and Turkish Airlines, aiming at leisure traffic between Germany and Turkey.


In 1996, commemorating the 40th birthday of the airline, US painter James Rizzi created a special paint scheme which was applied to one of Condor's Boeing 757s. With an order for 12 aircraft, the airline became the launch customer of the enlarged Boeing 757-300. In 1998, Condor Berlin GmbH was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary with headquarters at Berlin Tegel Airport (as all other German airlines, Condor was not allowed to operate into West Berlin until 1990), using Airbus A320 aircraft, which had recently been added to the fleet, replacing the Boeing 737 short-haul airliners. In the early 2000s, the Berlin business was moved to Schönefeld Airport.

2000-2009: Becoming part of Thomas Cook

A Condor Airbus A320-200 featuring the 1990s Condor livery with the newly applied "Thomas Cook" titles (2004).

In 2002, the process of transforming Condor from a Lufthansa subsidiary to a part of Thomas Cook Group (along with Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines (Belgium) and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia) began with the rebranding as Thomas Cook powered by Condor. A new livery was introduced, featuring the Thomas Cook logo on the aircraft tail and the word "Condor" written in the font used by Thomas Cook Airlines. In 2004, Condor became part of Thomas Cook AG, returning to the Condor Flugdienst brand name.

A Condor Boeing 757-300 approaching Frankfurt Airport, featuring a special livery commemorating the airline's 50th birthday (2010).


Corporate affairs

The company is headquartered in Kelsterbach, Hesse.[2][4] The company maintains branch offices in Oberursel and Berlin Schönefeld Airport.[5][6] Condor Technik GmbH is based out of Building 507 in Cargo City South at Frankfurt Airport in Flughafen, Frankfurt.[2][7][8]

New headquarters

In January 2010 the airline held a groundbreaking for a new headquarters complex in Gateway Gardens, an office complex located in Flughafen, Frankfurt, across the Bundesautobahn 3 from Frankfurt Airport. Ralf Teckentrup, the CEO of Condor, said that the new headquarters would place the airline's operations closer to Frankfurt Airport. 380 ground employees will work in the building, and pre-flight briefings for about 2,000 flight attendants will be held in the building.[9] Prior to its redevelopment, the land of Gateway Gardens previously housed residences of families stationed at a U.S. military base.[10]

Groß & Partner and OFB Projektentwicklung developed the seven floor facility.[11] The 14,600-square-metre (157,000 sq ft) building will be situated between the park and the central plaza, in the "Quartier Mondo" area of Gateway Gardens. It will house Condor's corporate headquarters, a training and education center with a flight simulator, and the airline's flight operations facility. 2,700 square metres (29,000 sq ft) of the facility will include small units that will be rented to other tenants. The developers plan to include a café and restaurant on the building's first floor. The building is scheduled to open in the northern hemisphere spring of 2012.[9]

Safety video

The current airline safety video features lookalikes of various celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin, the Queen of England, Elvis Presley, Michael Schumacher, Paris Hilton, Marilyn Monroe, and Neil Armstrong. The video was first played on 1 April 2011.[12]


A Condor Airbus A320-200 (2009).
A Condor Boeing 757-300 approaching Frankfurt Airport (2010).
A Condor Boeing 767-300ER approaching Vancouver International Airport (2008).

As of December 2010, the Condor fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 12.9 years:[13]

Condor fleet
Aircraft In Service Passengers
P J Y Total
Airbus A320-200 12 0 0 174 174
Boeing 757-300 13 0 0 252 252
Boeing 767-300ER 10 18 35 217 270
Total 34

Condor Flugdienst operates the non-passenger Pilatus_PC-9 aircraft for target-towing duties.

Aircraft maintenance is split between two wholly owned subsidiaries: Condor Technik GmbH (based at Frankfurt Airport with 160 employees) for the medium-long haul Boeing aircraft, and Condor Berlin (based at Berlin Schönefeld Airport with 80 employees) for the short-medium haul Airbus aircraft.

Fleet development

Over the years, Condor operated the following aircraft types:[14]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A300 1979 1989
Airbus A310 1985 1994
Airbus A320 1998
Boeing 737-100 1969 1981
Boeing 737-200 1981 1988
Boeing 737-300 1987 2003
Boeing 747-200 1971 1980
Boeing 747-400 1993 1996
Boeing 757-200 1990 2006
Boeing 757-300 1999
Boeing 767-300 1991
Douglas DC-8-73 1985 1986
Douglas DC-10-30 1979 2000
Pilatus PC-9 1987

Thomas Cook Group announced in December 2010 that it had chosen the Airbus A320 as preferred short-medium haul aircraft type for its airlines, with a review concerning the longhaul aircraft scheduled for 2011.[15]

Accidents and incidents

  • On 17 October 1958, a Deutsche Flugdienst (as the airline was called at that time) Vickers VC.1 Viking (registered D-BELA) on a cargo flight had to carry out a forced landing near Zele in Belgium due to an engine fire. Upon impact, the aircraft caught fire and was destroyed, but all three crew members on board survived.[16]
  • On 31 July 1960, a Deutsche Flugdienst Convair CV-240 (registered D-BELU) enroute from Frankfurt to Rimini experienced failures in both engines upon approaching Rimini Airport. The pilots had to carry out an emergency landing 1000 metres short of the runway, which resulted in the death of one passenger (out of 30, with additional four crew members on board) and the aircraft being written off.[17]
  • On 20 July 1970, a Condor Boeing 737-100 (registered D-ABEL) which was approaching Reus Airport, collided with a privately owned Piper Cherokee light aircraft (registration EC-BRU) near Tarragona, Spain. The Piper subsequently crashed, resulting in the death of the three persons on board. The Condor Boeing suffered only minor damage, and there were no injuries amongst the 95 passengers and 5 crew members.[18][19]
  • On 2 January 1988 at 19:18 local time, Condor Flight 3782, a Boeing 737-200 (registered D-ABHD) on a chartered service from Stuttgart to Izmir, crashed into a hill near Seferihisar whilst approaching Adnan Menderes Airport, killing all 11 passengers and 5 crew members on board. A flawed ILS-approach was given as cause for the accident .[20]
  • On 24 June 1992, a Condor Boeing 767-300 (registered D-ABUZ) took a wrong turn after departing Porlamar Airport in Venezuela on a charter flight back to Germany, resulting in an overflight of mountainous terrain at a low altitude. The aircraft hit a TV mast on top of El Copey (with 890 metres the second highest peak on Isla Margarita) with its left wing. The wing was substantially damaged (but could later be repaired), and the pilots managed to return to Porlamar Airport, without anyone of the 251 passengers and 12 crew members on board being injured.[21]


  1. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 68. 2007-04-03. 
  2. ^ a b c "How to find us." Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011. "Condor Flugdienst GmbH Am Grünen Weg 1 - 3 65451 Kelsterbach GERMANY" and "Condor Flugdienst GmbH (location Oberursel) Thomas-Cook-Platz 1 61440 Oberursel GERMANY" and "Condor Berlin GmbH Airport Berlin-Schönefeld Postfach 12521 Berlin GERMANY" and "Condor Technik GmbH Cargo City Süd, Gebäude 507 60549 Frankfurt/Airport GERMANY"
  3. ^ Historical Dollar to Deutsche Mark exchange rates
  4. ^ "How to find us in Kelsterbach."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  5. ^ "How to find us in Oberursel."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  6. ^ "How to find us in Berlin."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  7. ^ "How to find us Frankfurt Airport." Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Satellite Photo How to find us Airport Frankfurt."(German) Condor Flugdienst. Retrieved on 28 May 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Construction of Condor’s new headquarters begin." Aviation World. Fraport. January 2011. 15. Retrieved on May 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "Fairplay Sustainability Report 2007." Fraport. 6. Retrieved on May 28, 2011.
  11. ^ "CONDOR FLUGDIENST GMBH." Gateway Gardens. Retrieved on May 28, 2011.
  12. ^ "Condor safety instructions feature Paris Hilton, Elvis and Michael Schumacher." Condor. April 4, 2011. Retrieved on November 9, 2011.
  13. ^ Condor fleet list at
  14. ^ Condor historic fleet table at
  15. ^ Thomas Cook Group Preliminary Results 2010
  16. ^ 1958 Deutsche Flugdienst accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  17. ^ 1960 Deutsche Flugdienst accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  18. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 1)
  19. ^ The 1970 incident at the Aviation Safety Network (part 2)
  20. ^ Condor flight 3782 at the Aviation Safety Network
  21. ^ 1992 Porlamar incident at the Aviation Safety Network

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