The parent company of LOT Polish Airlines has announced its acquisition of German leisure carrier Condor.

Condor was previously a subsidiary of the UK’s Thomas Cook, which ceased trading in September 2019.

Polish Aviation Group (PGL) said the purchase would “ensure continued stability and certainty for customers, partners and employees”.

It said it plans to make Condor a leading European leisure airline, with a focus on growth in Germany and adjacent markets.

Condor will keep the same management team and branding.

Thomas Cook’s sudden collapse led to the UK’s largest-ever peacetime repatriation process after holidaymakers were left stranded. It had failed to secure a £900 million rescue deal from its largest shareholder, China’s Fosun, bondholders and banks.

The UK government rejected its request for a £150 million bailout, citing the “moral hazard” it would create for other businesses to fail.

However Condor was given a €380 million six-month bridging loan by the German government and the State of Hessen, which was approved by the European Commission.

PGL said it would repay the loan in full.

Condor was founded in 1956 and has an extensive network across Europe, Africa and the Americas, with a fleet of 50 aircraft.

It made an operating profit of €57 million in the 2018/2019 financial year, according to PGL.

LOT Polish launched flights from London City to Vilnius and Budapest last year. This year it is set to begin Warsaw-Beijing Daxing and Warsaw-Washington DC.

“The acquisition of Condor fits perfectly into PGL’s strategy,” said Rafal Milczarski, head of the PGL management board.

“It also secures the future of Condor and offers stability and great opportunities to its employees, customers and business partners.

“We want to develop Condor’s iconic brand in Germany and also introduce it to other markets in Europe. We wholeheartedly welcome all Condor employees to the PGL family and invite them to build together one of the greatest aviation groups in Europe.”

Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup commented:

“We are pleased that Condor, Germany’s most popular leisure airline, has gained in PGL and LOT stable, experienced and dynamically developing partners who secure the future of our business.

“Together we will serve twice as many passengers, thus forming one of the largest aviation groups and the leading leisure airline group in Europe. Our partners and customers can safely plan their holiday flights with Condor.”