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AIT/OTA evolution post
Thomas Cook — September 2019

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The post-mortems for Thomas Cook, the Anglo-German tour operator and charter airline group, with a fascinating 147-year history, but which went bankrupt in September, have been written. Causes of death: failure to adapt to new technology, maintenance of high street travel agents, not outsourcing airline operations, ill-advised purchases (MyTravel), weak profitability and balance sheet, poor management and Brexit. The prognosis for Thomas Cook was apparent in a regular series of articles on the Inclusive Tour industry published in Aviation Strategy, the latest of which was in March this year.

In the short term, the main airline beneficiaries from TCA’s demise in the UK should be TUI, Virgin Atlantic, Jet2, easyJet and Ryanair — see the summary of capacity at Thomas Cook’s two main bases, Manchester and Gatwick, in the tables. The slightly larger German operation, Condor, has controversially been rescued by a cash injection from the German government. This looks like temporary palliative and eventually the Lufthansa Group (including Eurowings and Sun Express) will absorb Condor’s capacity.


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