Condor’s Bold United States Expansion

Condor’s Bold United States Expansion

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Starting in the summer of 2022, Lufthansa will no longer be the only German airline flying to several major airports in the United States, including BOS, JFK, LAX, and SFO.

Condor adds BOS, LAX, and SFO flights

German leisure airline Condor operates a mix of short and long haul routes. Across the Atlantic, the airline has historically operated to destinations that Lufthansa hasn’t operated to, ranging from Anchorage, to Baltimore, to Fairbanks, to Las Vegas, to Minneapolis.

That’s increasingly changing, as the airline is competing directly with Lufthansa on more and more routes. In the summer of 2022, Condor will operate flights from Frankfurt (FRA) to the following 12 destinations in the United States:

  • Anchorage (ANC) — 3x weekly
  • Baltimore (BWI) — 3x weekly
  • Boston (BOS) — 3x weekly
  • Fairbanks (FAI) — 1x weekly
  • Las Vegas (LAS) — 3x weekly
  • Los Angeles (LAX) — 3x weekly
  • Minneapolis (MSP) — 3x weekly
  • New York (JFK) — 5x weekly
  • Phoenix (PHX) — 3x weekly
  • Portland (PDX) — 3x weekly
  • San Francisco (SFO) — 3x weekly
  • Seattle (SEA) — 7x weekly

This is a pretty significant development to transatlantic service out of Germany. Condor has gone from almost exclusively serving destinations not served by Lufthansa, to almost exclusively adding routes served by Lufthansa.

The fact that Condor’s four newest routes to the United States are to BOS, JFK, LAX, and SFO, should tell you a lot about the carrier’s plans. That JFK route was only added in November 2021, so it’s pretty new as well.

Condor currently flies Boeing 767s on long haul routes

Can Condor compete with Lufthansa?

It goes without saying that it’s great for consumers that Lufthansa is finally getting competition on more transatlantic routes. Historically there hasn’t been much direct competition for Lufthansa, with the airline and its Star Alliance transatlantic joint venture partners dominating the markets they operate in out of Germany.

With Condor increasingly trying to compete, here are a few thoughts:

  • Condor’s long haul fleet currently consists of outdated Boeing 767s, featuring angled seats in business class, so the product isn’t really competitive
  • Condor’s long haul fleet will soon be refreshed with new A330-900neos, offering an improved inflight product, and much better economics
  • As international travel continues to recover, the lines are more blurred than ever before in terms of what’s a business market and what’s a leisure market, since leisure travel is recovering more quickly; so while BOS, JFK, LAX, and SFO may historically be considered business markets, that’s not the case in the same way anymore
  • Condor’s biggest disadvantage is that the airline doesn’t have a lot of regional feed; interestingly German regulators are requiring Lufthansa to continue to offer feeder flights through a codeshare agreement, or else Condor would be in serious trouble
  • While nonstop fares from Frankfurt to the United States are higher than from other major European markets, the main issue is that there’s just not as much O&D traffic out of Frankfurt as out of London, Paris, etc.

I’m curious to see how this all plays out. I’m thrilled to see Condor bringing competition to the German market, especially with the airline soon taking delivery of A330-900neos. There is certainly some irony to Lufthansa being forced to provide feeder flights for an airline that’s increasingly becoming a competitor.

I almost wish Condor would team up with some other airlines, or even join oneworld, especially after airberlin went out of business. However, that seems unlikely, since Condor probably wouldn’t join the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, as the airline is significantly lower yield across the Atlantic than American, British Airways, etc.

Condor is acquiring Airbus A330-900neos

Bottom line

Condor’s summer 2022 schedule includes significant expansion to the United States. What’s interesting is that Condor isn’t adding routes to niche leisure destinations, but rather to major markets already served by Lufthansa, including Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This competition is great, especially with Condor soon taking delivery of A330-900neos with improved economics and a better passenger experience. I’m curious to see how this plays out in the long run.

What do you make of Condor’s latest expansion?

(Tip of the hat to @IshrionA)

Conversations (31)
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  1. GS in PDX Guest

    For an airline that focuses on the leisure segment of the market, their fares don't reflect that very well. I have checked them a couple of times to get to Europe, and there are generally other, less expensive options. If they want to be a serious player, they need to be price leaders in this market, to capture all of that segment possible.

  2. roger Guest

    Condor would be a good addition to ONEWORLD to increase their footprint in Germany after the collapse and shutdown of airBerlin. ONEWORLD needs to address their lack of penetration into Germany and Eastern Europe and take some steps to remain relevant.

  3. JR Guest

    Very encouraging news. Already booked two transatlantic trip with Condor for 2022. I find Frankfurt a more convenient connection than London (extremely busy) lhr airport.

  4. Manuheit Guest

    Condor could team up with Transat. Their business models seem quite similar and their routes complementary.

  5. reed Member

    Can't really be surprised that the return doesn't include FRA-PIT, though they profitably operated it subsidy free for a year or two pre-pandemic. The latest but not the greatest strategic change to hurt traffic at PIT.

  6. Endre Guest

    When the fares are compared, LH's premium economy costs more than DE's business class. Especially if you are not a frequent traveler, flying in DE's business class is already one of the highlights of most tourists' vacation.

    1. Richy Guest

      Condor endlich mal mit etwas mehr Langstrecken. Das ist top....Wünsche Condor viel Glück, da Lufthansa inkl. Eurowings wirkliche Katastrophen sind...und das in jeder Hinsicht. Condor ist zwar nicht viel besser, belebt aber etwas den Markt. Die Preise sind auch keine Wucht. Viele Fernziele sind mit anderen Airlines in der business class wesentlich günstiger als der Flug mit Condor. Ehemals sehr beliebte Strecken sind aus dem Programm gestrichen worden ( da andere Linien...günstiger, und mit wesentlich...

      Condor endlich mal mit etwas mehr Langstrecken. Das ist top....Wünsche Condor viel Glück, da Lufthansa inkl. Eurowings wirkliche Katastrophen sind...und das in jeder Hinsicht. Condor ist zwar nicht viel besser, belebt aber etwas den Markt. Die Preise sind auch keine Wucht. Viele Fernziele sind mit anderen Airlines in der business class wesentlich günstiger als der Flug mit Condor. Ehemals sehr beliebte Strecken sind aus dem Programm gestrichen worden ( da andere Linien...günstiger, und mit wesentlich besseren Qualitäten aufwarten konnten).
      Service und Qualität während des Fluges sind innerhalb von Jahren nicht im geringsten verbessert. Aber....was will man schon von einer deutschen airline groß erwarten.
      Und tatsächlich.....wehe der Flieger ist zu spät... eine Katastrophe...

  7. RobASFO Guest

    Pricing the flight for travel this summer from SFO to FRA comes out to $3428 USD for business class.
    They do list the seats as being flat bed seats on their website.
    It also appears to be seasonal only.

  8. Robert Wallas Guest

    Lufthansa business class product is terrible. So it should be pretty easy to compete

  9. Rene Guest

    With all the crappy updates LH has recently implemented in Eco to increase passenger experience I give Condor a fair chance to succeed. I would try them when flying Eco, can't be any worse the LH.

  10. info Guest

    don't fly this crappy airline. In case of irregural operations they would not rebook you on united/lufthansa so you will need to wair for their flight next day or few days later. they are not worth if you want to have pace of mind when you travel. pay a little more for united , lufthansa or any other airline.

  11. Ryan Guest

    It’s not like Lufthansa’s business class is anything to get excited about… in fact I think it’s one of if not the worst across the Atlantic as far as alliance carriers go. With any luck this competitive pressure will force LH to improve.

  12. DTS Guest

    I like Condor, out of SEA they offer the best TATL biz product in my opinion, despite the seat (which will hopefully be soon addressed).
    Though, since my final destination is not FRA, I am really curious how long the feeder flights will continue.

  13. Jim Guest

    Surprised Condor is going to Boston instead of returning to Providence

  14. Alpha Golf Member

    I flew them BWI-FRA in 2019; flight operated by the Brisith AirTanker. Kinda novel.

  15. DJ Guest

    While not a oneworld member, Condor is actually an Alaska Mileage Plan partner. Not on the same level as BA or AA but it’s an option for Europe and definitely good news for some MP members. See link: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/how-to-earn-miles/airline-partners/condor?lid=airline-partners:partners-condor

    1. Asdf Guest

      My parents just booked SEA-FRA with AS miles in J, on the leased Etihad A332's, for peak summer. Many thanks to Ben for highlighting the better metal and hard product in his recent post.

  16. Martin Guest

    So Condor tries to strike back. As business travel is expected to recover only slowly, Lufthansa has announced to focus more on leisure travel and it looks as if they try to secure the success of their new holiday travel daughter Eurowings Discover by pushing the weakened Condor out of the marked by cancelling the feeder agreement and attacking Condor on established routes. If you look at the newly introduced or announced Eurowings Discover routes,...

    So Condor tries to strike back. As business travel is expected to recover only slowly, Lufthansa has announced to focus more on leisure travel and it looks as if they try to secure the success of their new holiday travel daughter Eurowings Discover by pushing the weakened Condor out of the marked by cancelling the feeder agreement and attacking Condor on established routes. If you look at the newly introduced or announced Eurowings Discover routes, it's always direct competition to Condor.

  17. Marc Guest

    It's great to see Condor return to LAX. I use to see their 767's parked @ LAX as a child in the 80's. Though I am hoping they are not the exact same planes I saw then. :)

  18. Tim Guest

    Condor has absolutely nothing to fear from Lufthansa.Thier premium and business class is far better

  19. eponymous coward Guest

    At the moment, if you can find availability out of SEA, AS is offering those ex-EY birds on DE for 55k one way in J. Arguably the best deal for J travel USA-EU given that BA isn’t all that available and will charge hundreds in YQ, AA availability is a joke, and LH is 2-2-2 in J and playing footsie, not to mention more expensive on AV, AC and UA.

    Burn those AS miles!

  20. derek Guest

    Angled business seats are competitive in the westbound direction, in my opinion, particularly if one is not planning to sleep.

  21. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    Do they still have their codeshare with AS? That could be part of this, as SFO and LAX are both AS hublets, in addition to the extant SEA (their only daily service to the USA) and PDX.

    With JFK and BOS being the other two adds, I'm wondering if a codeshare with B6 is in the works? ...if so, then look forward to MCO and FLL/MIA joining the DE fold, as well.

  22. Ralph4878 Guest

    Was hoping ORD would be on this list, but with LH and friends UA, LX, LO, SK, TP, and TK all serving it, that was a pipedream...would love to try Condor to Frankfurt and then onward to one of their Indian Ocean destinations.

  23. Never In Doubt Guest

    Any fare competition from SFO to Europe is good competition!

  24. Max Guest

    Condor not only has A330neo on order, they have already taken some ex-Etihad A330ceo in recent weeks. These will also keep the original Etihad Business Class seat.

  25. EJC Guest

    Recently the German aviation regulator seemed to side with Condor over the Lufthansa short haul feed. Their view seemed to be that in order to allow Lufthansa to continue to have its dominant position overall, they needed to provided short haul feed to Condor to act as some form of competition.

  26. Klaus Guest

    Due to competition law, Lufthansa has to offer feeder flights. They are not allowed to cancel the contract.
    Besides, Germany has a good working railway system and Condor offers Rail&Fly tickets so that the train fare is included.
    Frankfurt is centrally located in a country as big as Texas - so for a family it may make sense to just drive a couple of hours to Frankfurt airport, park the car and fly...

    Due to competition law, Lufthansa has to offer feeder flights. They are not allowed to cancel the contract.
    Besides, Germany has a good working railway system and Condor offers Rail&Fly tickets so that the train fare is included.
    Frankfurt is centrally located in a country as big as Texas - so for a family it may make sense to just drive a couple of hours to Frankfurt airport, park the car and fly with Condor.
    Even though most readers cannot understand it, but there are some car enthusiasts that rather drive to Frankfurt airport than to fly to Frankfurt on a feeder

    1. Donato Guest

      Klaus, readers should also consider the convenience factor of driving to FRA, park indoors and walk right into the lower level of Terminal 1. No shuttle, no weather concerns. Then again, a slightly longer walk also brings you to the Long Distance train station, also accessible without real outdoor exposure.

  27. Jason Guest

    I thought I just read somewhere that a German court ordered Lufthansa to continue interline feed with Condor in Germany. So I think that feed is secure. If they didn’t have the feed I don’t think they’d be successful. I flew them in 2016 as I needed a one way fare to Barcelona from Baltimore. It was great and cheap for a one way biz class ticket. The whole plane seemed to be connecting to...

    I thought I just read somewhere that a German court ordered Lufthansa to continue interline feed with Condor in Germany. So I think that feed is secure. If they didn’t have the feed I don’t think they’d be successful. I flew them in 2016 as I needed a one way fare to Barcelona from Baltimore. It was great and cheap for a one way biz class ticket. The whole plane seemed to be connecting to Lufthansa and other airlines in Frankfurt. It was in summer and mostly families going on vacation to Italy, Spain, Baltics, etc. i doubt that this leisure-oriented crowd cared much about product- they wanted a cheap flight to Europe in the summer, and that’s what they got. I have no doubt that Condor will be just fine. And my business class was great. Seat not the best but the service and food were shockingly good.

  28. Stuart Guest

    I flew them once to BWI around 2018. I needed a last minute ticket and the others were around $4500 in Business and Condor was like $800. To be honest, it was fine. The seats in business were old school for sure but the service was nice and it was non-stop. Let's face it, LH does not have the most cutting edge business class either. Sure, it's lie flat, but aging, a bit cramped, and...

    I flew them once to BWI around 2018. I needed a last minute ticket and the others were around $4500 in Business and Condor was like $800. To be honest, it was fine. The seats in business were old school for sure but the service was nice and it was non-stop. Let's face it, LH does not have the most cutting edge business class either. Sure, it's lie flat, but aging, a bit cramped, and 2-2-2. So it's not like you are going to fly some great extreme of differential. And is mileage THAT important anymore with the alliances? Or worth thousands more in fare?

    If anything, this should get LH seriously realizing they can't continue with the product they offer in Business. And the Alliances to remember that as they devalue their loyalty programs, airlines like Condor with much lower fares in premium cabins seem a good value overall. Either that, or simply stop charging outrageous business fares over the Atlantic.

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Asdf Guest

My parents just booked SEA-FRA with AS miles in J, on the leased Etihad A332's, for peak summer. Many thanks to Ben for highlighting the better metal and hard product in his recent post.

2
DJ Guest

While not a oneworld member, Condor is actually an Alaska Mileage Plan partner. Not on the same level as BA or AA but it’s an option for Europe and definitely good news for some MP members. See link: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/how-to-earn-miles/airline-partners/condor?lid=airline-partners:partners-condor

2
Donato Guest

Klaus, readers should also consider the convenience factor of driving to FRA, park indoors and walk right into the lower level of Terminal 1. No shuttle, no weather concerns. Then again, a slightly longer walk also brings you to the Long Distance train station, also accessible without real outdoor exposure.

1
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