Thomas Cook is restructuring its airline to operate Manchester and Frankfurt airports as long-haul hubs with passengers feeding in off connecting flights.
German carrier Condor will provide the model for Thomas Cook Airlines following the creation of a single airline division earlier this year. The UK carrier will maintain direct flights from multiple UK airports to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands as well as long-haul services from Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow to Orlando and Cancun.
However, Manchester will be at the core of Cook’s long-haul operations, with schedules coordinated with Condor’s main hub at Frankfurt. Cook is deciding which destinations to operate out of which hub.
Long-haul departures from Manchester will be fed by early morning Flybe flights from the regions.
Jens Boyd, Thomas Cook Airlines group head of long‑haul, said: “We’ve planned the summer 2014 schedule [at Manchester] to fit the new requirements with 11am departures so passengers from Belfast, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Norwich could fly in the same morning.” Flights currently depart about 9am.
At the same time, Cook will offer an increasing number of options with Condor via Frankfurt using Lufthansa connecting flights from the UK. The Frankfurt long-haul operation is three times the size of Manchester in summer and six times the size in winter.
The German carrier operates independently of Cook’s other businesses and charges them “market prices” for seats. It sells 40% of seats direct and only one-third in-house, with the remainder sold through third parties. Thomas Cook Airlines will create an external sales team. The carriers will move to a common IT system next year.
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