Condor Refreshes Fleet With 16 Airbus A330-900neos

Condor Refreshes Fleet With 16 Airbus A330-900neos

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This is huge news for German aviation…

Condor becomes German launch customer for A330-900neo

German leisure airline Condor has just placed an order for 16 Airbus A330-900neos. The first plane is expected to join Condor’s fleet in the fall of 2022, while all planes should be delivered by mid-2024.

Currently Condor’s long haul fleet consists of 13 Boeing 767-300ERs, which are an average of 26 years old. For a long time there have been questions about Condor’s long haul fleet renewal plans, given that (presumably) the planes will only fly for so much longer. Well, now we finally know the plan.

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 6,550nm, 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 — the long haul fleet will grow from 13 smaller planes to 16 bigger planes.

Condor introducing new business class, premium economy

Here’s what Condor has shared so far about the passenger experience on the upcoming Airbus A330-900neos:

  • We should expect an all new business class, premium economy, and economy
  • Condor is promising the latest generation of inflight entertainment and connectivity onboard
  • More details will be shared in the coming weeks and months

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’s 767 business class

I would imagine that Condor will introduce flat beds in business class on the A330-900neos. I don’t think it’ll be anything cutting edge, but rather just something that’s solid. After all, the airline is a leisure airline, so many people traveling are couples or families, and don’t mind sitting together. Furthermore, the airline doesn’t have much competition in many of the markets that it operates in.

Furthermore, Condor is promising to be the European frontrunner when it comes to per passenger fuel burn on long haul flights. Earning that title requires putting a lot of seats on planes. 😉

Could Condor’s long haul strategy change?

While there’s no indication that anything is changing, I can’t help but pose this question.

Currently Condor’s long haul route network consists almost entirely of leisure routes from Germany. We’re talking everything from Anchorage, to Cancun, to Havana, to Mauritius, to Phuket. The airline will grow its long haul fleet significantly, when you factor in the number of aircraft, as well as their capacity. Furthermore, the airline will likely have an all around better passenger experience.

I can’t help but wonder if we might see 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 new Eurowings Discover subsidiary, which could make some markets challenging for Condor. Conversely, maybe Condor could go on the offensive against Lufthansa in some more traditional business markets.

I’m not saying it will happen, but I think it can’t be ruled out.

Could we see Condor expand beyond leisure markets?

Bottom line

German leisure airline Condor has placed an order for 16 Airbus A330-900neos, which will be delivered between 2022 and 2024. These will replace the carrier’s existing 13 Boeing 767-300ERs, which are getting old. It’s so exciting Condor develop in this way, given that these planes will feature an all new passenger experience.

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 what do you think it means for the carrier’s strategy?

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  1. Uwe Jachmann

    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.

  2. Ben

    @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…

  3. RH

    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...

  4. Zorn

    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?

  5. Endre

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

  6. Davud

    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.

  7. Stephen Morrissey

    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.

  8. STEFFL

    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.

  9. Jake

    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.

  10. Andy

    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.

  11. Stuart

    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.

  12. Max

    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

  13. nofly

    @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.

  14. Steve from LA

    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?

  15. Tim Dunn

    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.

  16. Never In Doubt

    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

      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

      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.

  17. JB

    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?

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Never In Doubt

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

Uwe Jachmann

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.

Ben

@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…

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