Condor Refreshes Fleet With 16 Airbus A330-900neos

Condor Refreshes Fleet With 16 Airbus A330-900neos

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In July 2021, Condor announced plans to refresh its long haul fleet with Airbus A330-900neos. In this post I wanted to take an updated look at that, as the new aircraft type should enter service for the airline in the coming weeks.

Condor becomes German launch customer for A330-900neo

German leisure airline Condor has placed an order for 16 Airbus A330-900neos. The airline will be taking delivery of these planes quickly, as they’ll join Condor’s fleet between late 2022 and the middle of 2024.

Currently Condor’s long haul fleet consists of 13 Boeing 767-300ERs, which are an average of 26 years old. On top of that, Condor has been leasing former Etihad Airways Airbus A330s, which the airline has used to increase capacity for the time being.

Condor’s long haul fleet currently consists of 767s

The A330-900neo is the latest generation aircraft in the A330 family. The plane features improved fuel efficiency over older versions of the A330, and it’s a great lower capacity alternative to the A350, which is otherwise Airbus’ flagship long haul aircraft nowadays. In a standard configuration the A330-900neo has a range of 7,200nm, and capacity to seat 287 people.

Condor is claiming that this will make the airline the European frontrunner for fuel efficiency on long haul flights. It’s even marketing this plane as the “2-liter aircraft,” because the airline states that per person fuel consumption will be 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers flown.

This plane should be a huge improvement for the airline in so many ways — in terms of fuel efficiency, passenger experience, range, operating costs, and even capacity. This represents quite some growth for the airline too, as Condor is growing from its initial long haul fleet of 13 smaller aircraft to a future long haul fleet of 16 bigger aircraft.

This is also only part of Condor’s fleet renewal. In July 2022, the airline also placed an order for up to 41 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft, which will be used to refresh Condor’s short haul fleet. Those planes will start to be delivered in the first half of 2024.

Condor is also refreshing its short haul fleet

Condor’s first Airbus A330-900neo takes to the skies

While the delivery of Condor’s first Airbus A330-900neo has been delayed somewhat, the good news is that the carrier’s first A330-900neo has now flown for the first time. Specifically, the jet with the registration code F-WWCX flew for the first time yesterday, performing a test flight to and from Toulouse (TLS).

Condor has also introduced a bold new livery, which personally I love, though I also get how others kind of hate it.

First Condor Airbus A330-900neo

That A330-900neo should be delivered to Condor in the coming weeks. Based on what I can see, it looks like the first commercial A330-900neo routes are currently scheduled for January 2023, though I imagine that timeline could slip further, depending on how things go.

Condor’s new business class, premium economy

What’s exciting about the A330-900neo isn’t just that it’s much more fuel efficient, higher capacity, and longer range, but also that Condor is introducing an all-new product onboard these planes. While you can read all about Condor’s A330-900neo cabins in this post, here are a few basics:

  • Condor’s A330-900neos will feature a total of 310 seats, including 30 business class seats, 64 premium economy seats, and 216 economy seats
  • Business class will consist of fully flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with direct aisle access
  • While Condor is marketing the middle cabin as premium economy, in reality it’s more like extra legroom economy seating, as it will be in a 2-4-2 layout, with up to 15cm of additional pitch
  • Economy will be in a 2-4-2 layout
  • There will be personal televisions at all seats, plus inflight Wi-Fi

You can find Condor’s dedicated A330-900neo website here.

Condor business class Airbus A330-900neo
Condor premium economy Airbus A330-900neo
Condor economy Airbus A330-900neo

For context, currently Condor’s 767s are in a two cabin configuration. Business class consists of (heavily) slanted seats, which aren’t really competitive to other business class products out there (then again, there’s not much competition on the Frankfurt to Whitehorse route).

Condor business class Boeing 767-300

The new product will be a massive upgrade compared to what Condor is currently offering. And it’s especially competitive compared to Lufthansa, which still hasn’t actually introduced its new business class product.

Condor is competing more directly with Lufthansa

It’s interesting to see how Condor’s business model has been evolving over time, and I’d say it’s great for consumers.

Historically Condor’s long haul route network consisted almost entirely of leisure routes from Germany. We’re talking everything from Anchorage, to Cancun, to Havana, to Mauritius, to Phuket. However, over time we’ve seen Condor go head-to-head against Lufthansa on more routes, since Lufthansa doesn’t have any competition in many markets.

Lufthansa is replicating some of Condor’s routes with its Eurowings Discover subsidiary, which makes some markets more challenging for Condor. That’s probably also why we’re seeing Condor expand into more Lufthansa markets, ranging from Los Angeles, to New York, to San Francisco.

Once Condor has A330-900neos in its fleet, it should be able to compete much better with Lufthansa, both in terms of cost structure and product.

The irony is that even though Condor and Lufthansa are increasingly becoming big competitors, Lufthansa still has to provide feed for Condor. The German government ruled that Lufthansa has to maintain its interline agreement with Condor, meaning you can book a ticket that includes travel on both Condor and Lufthansa. Without that connectivity, Condor would have a much harder time.

Condor has been expanding beyond leisure markets

Bottom line

German leisure airline Condor will be taking delivery of 16 Airbus A330-900neos, which will be delivered between late 2022 and the middle of 2024. These will replace the carrier’s existing 13 Boeing 767-300ERs, which are getting old.

It’s so exciting to see Condor evolve in this way, given that these planes will feature an all new passenger experience. Condor will finally offer flat beds in business class, personal televisions at all seats, Wi-Fi, etc.

Condor will always have a special place in my heart, as it’s the airline I most associate with my childhood. I have fond memories flying nonstop between Tampa and Frankfurt on the airline back in the day (though having to sit in the smoking section is also what got me interested in collecting miles in the first place, so I could travel more comfortably).

What do you make of Condor’s A330-900neo order, and the overall evolution of the airline?

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  1. RF Diamond

    It's good that the German government is encouraging competition.

  2. STEFFL Member

    little correction to A330-900neos fleet size at CONDOR
    As of a couple of weeks ago, CONDOR announced it will be 18!!! not 16 as they leased 2 additional A330-900new planes, joining there fleet as of 2024.
    Where they are coming from was so far NOT published!
    But the fleet size of A330-900neos will be 18!

  3. Willmo Guest

    I think it would be a good idea if the British government mandated a similar practise to Germany, where BA has to provide European feeder service to Virgin long haul routes. Would reduce BAs unfair advantage.

    1. DaBluBoi Guest

      Think they used to do that before the pandemic. Remember booking one from DUB to DEL with Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic on the same ticket. Shame really, I find it to be a better airline than British on that route

  4. Airfarer Diamond

    Flew Condor several times back in the 80s when they were all charter. Everyone got a camphor loaded hot towel on arrival in Europe from the States, it was delightful.

  5. Uwe Jachmann Guest

    Ich hoffe es werden Maktlücken erkannt und geschlossen. Zum Beispiel Flüge von Frankfurt auf die Philippinen. Die einzige Direktverbindung aus Europa gibt es bisher nur von London nach Manila durch Philipines Airline.

    1. STEFFL Member

      WON'T HAPPEN, Philippines are a tough market with too much competition with Asian & Middel East Airlines.
      That's the reason, why CONDOR stopped flying to Phuket via Dubai too. (before Covid hit!) NOT WORTH IT.

  6. Ben Guest

    @never in doubt: sorry, but not if we talk about the air asia flatbed edition (2-2-2 in c & 3-3-3 in y). some rumours in germany say so. I myself definitely hope for a more advanced product…

  7. RH Guest

    Condor has been owned by Lufthansa many many many years ago (at least 15 years). After then they have been overtaken from Thomas Cook. After the Thomas Cook bankruptcy in 2019, Condor was bailed out by german government and was looking for new owner since then. They have been overtaken now from Attestor, now being enabled to buy a new fleet.
    So the "ownership of Lufthansa" alread ended 15 years ago or even earlier...

  8. Zorn Guest

    I thought that Condor is owned by Lufthansa. When I flew to Anchorage in 2018, I thought that I credited it to Lufthansa Miles!!

    Has ownership changed?

    1. STEFFL Member

      ... many moons ago!

      2019, was when M&M announced NOT to cooperate with CONDOR anymore!

      Ownership had NOTHING to to with earning Miles on M&M!

  9. Endre Guest

    Condor will probably offer at least the same hard product as Eurowings

  10. Davud Guest

    Condor has had 16 767 (in FEB20), so this is a 1:1 replacement of the long haul fleet, which itself has grown significantly over the past 10 years.

    Apart from that I don’t expect any shifts in routes - condor is mainly operating for German tour operators that want at least some level of competition against LHGroup.

  11. Stephen Morrissey Guest

    Looks a lot better than the Air France flight (777) we flew from CDG to MRU a few years ago in PE . The IFE was not operational.
    For an 11 hour plus flight.
    Upside was AF upgraded us on the return leg from CDG to YYZ to business.

  12. STEFFL Member

    REVIVAL . . .
    Lucky's childhood airlines finally flying with all modern longhaul fleet again, wonder if he will take a window seat again on those new A330-900neo's? :-)

    GREAT choice CONDOR, even if i'm NO fan of that airline, i love the A330.

  13. Jake Guest

    I think if they were to expand, the won't go after the business traffic but rather I could see them go for the 'traditional' business destinations that also see a lot of leisure traffic (e.g. New York, Los Angeles); similar to what Thomas Cook was doing before they went bankrupt.

    1. STEFFL Member

      BIG DIFFERENCE . . .
      CONDOR has a big feeder market in America with GOL and Alaska Airlines.
      Thomas Cook, NEVER focused on selling anywhere else but in the UK!
      CONDOR has good connection traffic via Frankfurt Hub from Spain, Africa and in Summer Season to Greece.
      Thomas Cook was only a Point to Point Carrier with mostly focusing on UK Market, there flights couldn't even be booked on all mayor Reservation Systems worldwide!

  14. Andy Guest

    I think there is broad consensus that leisure traffic will recover before corporate travel. This means Condor is positioned in a nice segment, for the current situation and the new planes will improve their product. BUT: The big mainline carriers will not sit and wait until corporate travel eventually recovers. The will also sind their planes to leisure destinations. So that niche becomes increasingly competitive. Also, it is quite seasonal, with very short peaks over...

    I think there is broad consensus that leisure traffic will recover before corporate travel. This means Condor is positioned in a nice segment, for the current situation and the new planes will improve their product. BUT: The big mainline carriers will not sit and wait until corporate travel eventually recovers. The will also sind their planes to leisure destinations. So that niche becomes increasingly competitive. Also, it is quite seasonal, with very short peaks over Xmas and New Year, a few days over Eastern and a few weeks in summer, which causes capital utilization problems.

  15. Stuart Guest

    They had some interesting routes to the U.S. prior to Covid. The seasonal summer flight to BWI was actually pretty popular. I had a number of German friends that used it to get to back and forth to DC given the inexpensive old school business class that was often priced around $1500 R/T. A far cry from LH pricing out of Dulles. They said it was fine, nothing special, but got the job done.

  16. Max Guest

    Condor currently has 15 767s and will reduce their fleet to 14 this autumn.
    Therefore 13 as the current fleet size is wrong according to my knowledge

  17. nofly Guest

    @Steve Germany effectively nationalized Condor after Thomas Cook going bust and is now selling it off. The investor provides 250 million euro for the refleeting. Thats only 19,2 millions per plane vs a list price of $296.4 millions. I very mouch doubt Airbus is willing to offer a 95% discount. So a sale and leaseback deal is probably involved.

    Speaking of future strategy, the ability to compete with carriers like Lufthansa on long haul routes...

    @Steve Germany effectively nationalized Condor after Thomas Cook going bust and is now selling it off. The investor provides 250 million euro for the refleeting. Thats only 19,2 millions per plane vs a list price of $296.4 millions. I very mouch doubt Airbus is willing to offer a 95% discount. So a sale and leaseback deal is probably involved.

    Speaking of future strategy, the ability to compete with carriers like Lufthansa on long haul routes would heavily depend on the leasing rate. In normal times Lufthansa should have much lower capital costs as they own most of their fleet and enjoyed large rebates. With increasing competition by Lufthansa's new ultra-low-wage "Ocean" subsidiary on the same routes, Condor upgauging to larger jets is a puzzling move.

  18. Steve from LA Guest

    Is this just wishful thinking?

    The last time I flew condor was in the midst of the Tomas Cook bankruptcy nightmare. I remember back in September 2019 waiting, with everyone else at the Seattle terminal, and wondering whether the Condor plane was going to show up at the gate. Even the Condor flight crew seemed a little surprised when it did and actually had fuel. Then I sweated out my three weeks in Europe...

    Is this just wishful thinking?

    The last time I flew condor was in the midst of the Tomas Cook bankruptcy nightmare. I remember back in September 2019 waiting, with everyone else at the Seattle terminal, and wondering whether the Condor plane was going to show up at the gate. Even the Condor flight crew seemed a little surprised when it did and actually had fuel. Then I sweated out my three weeks in Europe wondering if the return flight to Seattle was going to leave from Frankfurt or if I was going to be stranded like all of the Thomas Cook customers.

    In all fairness, despite the out dated aircraft, the flights were great. I don't know who was happier to be flying, me or the crew. The service in business class was spectacular. I was very thankfully when the German government stepped up to the plate, more than once if I recall correctly, to save Condor. I just figured that this pandemic would be the death dagger for Condor.

    Again is this just wishful thinking on Condor's part? Or have they suddenly found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that is going to allow them the financial stability to update their fleet?

  19. Tim Dunn Guest

    Airbus certainly is making deals on the A330-900 (NEO) given Air Asia's situation (they are a major customer and are in deep financial trouble) but the A330-900 is a very versatile and economical performer. If you have to pick only one widebody airplane, the A330-900 would have to come out at the top of the list.
    As the A330CEO replacement cycle kicks it, the A330NEO will see plenty of interest.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "If you have to pick only one widebody airplane, the A330-900 would have to come out at the top of the list."

      The 787-9 is laughing its ass off at that statement..... with of course, the numbers to back up its hubris.

  20. Never In Doubt Guest

    A big fan of the a330-900neo, the only new build long haul aircraft with 2 seats next to the window in economy!

    1. Sunny leveson-jones Guest

      it almost certainly won't be in condors config if you do the math on their fuel economy stats it only really works at 9 across

    2. William Guest

      They're claiming European frontrunner in fuel efficiency not global. CEBU Pacific is doing 9 across but then the market is quite different. Condor is carrying German couples on holidays. CEBU pacific is carry Philippine folks like nurses, maids, hotel reception staff to jobs. There is a big difference in physical stature as well as price point.

  21. JB Guest

    If they have a solid hard product and passenger experience, I'm sure they could do really well in some of Lufthansa's routes.

    I also hope we might see them come to Orlando or Tampa again! Lufthansa operated their high density 747-400's daily to Orlando pre-pandemic, but now has an A330 on the schedule. There is definitely room for Condor to come in. Tampa seems less likely since LH began operating that route a few years...

    If they have a solid hard product and passenger experience, I'm sure they could do really well in some of Lufthansa's routes.

    I also hope we might see them come to Orlando or Tampa again! Lufthansa operated their high density 747-400's daily to Orlando pre-pandemic, but now has an A330 on the schedule. There is definitely room for Condor to come in. Tampa seems less likely since LH began operating that route a few years ago, but I don't know if it's coming back (pre-pandemic it was with their Cityline A340-300).

    Do you think there is any chance we might see them replicate any former Thomas Cook routes out of the UK?

    1. STEFFL Member

      Tampa is not flown by Lufthansa anymore! Now operated by cheap airline Eurowings Discover with constantly old planes from Edelweiss and SunExpress changing A330 all the time on that route.
      Lufthansa is HISTORY on many routes to North America!
      TPA, PHL, YYZ, YVR, PTY, MCO (actually, if you fly MCO now on LH flight number, you are LUCKY, as this route is now operated by new Finnair A350 with much better Business Class...

      Tampa is not flown by Lufthansa anymore! Now operated by cheap airline Eurowings Discover with constantly old planes from Edelweiss and SunExpress changing A330 all the time on that route.
      Lufthansa is HISTORY on many routes to North America!
      TPA, PHL, YYZ, YVR, PTY, MCO (actually, if you fly MCO now on LH flight number, you are LUCKY, as this route is now operated by new Finnair A350 with much better Business Class then Lufthansa ever had on any of there Group airlines!)

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STEFFL Member

little correction to A330-900neos fleet size at CONDOR As of a couple of weeks ago, CONDOR announced it will be 18!!! not 16 as they leased 2 additional A330-900new planes, joining there fleet as of 2024. Where they are coming from was so far NOT published! But the fleet size of A330-900neos will be 18!

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Donna Diamond

Love the plane, hate the livery.

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Tim Dunn Guest

Airbus certainly is making deals on the A330-900 (NEO) given Air Asia's situation (they are a major customer and are in deep financial trouble) but the A330-900 is a very versatile and economical performer. If you have to pick only one widebody airplane, the A330-900 would have to come out at the top of the list. As the A330CEO replacement cycle kicks it, the A330NEO will see plenty of interest.

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