After the withdrawal of Polish LOT from a Condor takeover, talks between the ailing airline and the federal government continue. Time is of the essence: the company has to repay a KfW aid loan by Friday.
By Michael Immel, ARD aviation expert
The vacation airline Condor needs a second rescue in the coming days. For the 5000 employees, a perspective now needs to be found quickly after the Polish airline LOT canceled the planned takeover.
The deal with the LOT parent company PGL failed because the problems in the aviation industry are the same everywhere: In the Corona crisis, many airlines need state financial injections. LOT announced that very early on. So yesterday’s news came as little surprise: LOT is withdrawing. A separation contract must now be drawn up. There will also be talk of compensation.
German state as a possible savior
The focus for Condor is now: Another model has to be found that will secure the future of the traditional holiday airline, one that will secure jobs. And ultimately also brings a new buyer on the horizon, with whom a new, long-term partnership could arise.
Talks with the Federal Ministry of Economics have been going on for weeks. But there is no comment on the situation.
Trustee as an option?
One model is currently most frequently mentioned: the trustee model. After the protective shield proceedings have officially been concluded, Condor could be managed by a trustee for a certain period of time. The state would not be directly at the wheel and not become a partner. A trustee would oversee the airline’s operations on behalf of the federal government.
The other options include a temporary nationalization of Condor. However, this direct entry of the state is apparently not favored in Berlin.
KfW loan must be repaid
At the end of September last year, Condor had received a bridging loan of 380 million euros from the state-owned KfW bank. It must now be paid back by Friday. Actually, the loan should be repaid with the money from the sale to the Poles. But now nothing will come of it.
Condor had already asked for a state aid loan in Berlin weeks ago because of the corona crisis. A sum of around 200 million euros has repeatedly been mentioned in various media. In addition, there is an escrow account from the time of the protective shield proceedings. Since the end of September 2019, all income from Condor ticket sales had been safely parked there for their customers. That should be a three-digit million amount, say insiders.
In addition, the holiday airline is said to have only financed the weekly liquidity from the KfW loan. The goal was never to completely exhaust the credit line.
Is Condor viable?
Corona state aid and access to the protective shield account could initially make Condor viable. The holiday airline has been restructured as a result of the sales process that has been initiated. Employees, unions and the management under Ralf Teckentrup pulled together in an unprecedented manner and reduced the airline’s costs worth millions.
There is also a spirit of flight attendants and pilots that was carried over to the customers. You expressed your confidence in the German holiday airline even in turbulent times. In the past few weeks, Condor had flown 78,000 German vacationers home.
Most short-haul aircraft are now on the ground. Only the long-haul fleet still flies. The 13 machines transport freight, such as urgently needed protective clothing, from China to Germany. All employees are on short-time work. The social partners made financial agreements for cases of hardship.
https://povareno.ru will report on this topic on April 14, 2020 at 5:00 p.m..