The first new Airbus A321-211 with Sunny Heart paintwork was delivered to Condor on 13 February 2014. Overall, the airlines of the Thomas Cook Group plc will receive 25 Airbus A321-211 aircraft by 2016, five of which will go to the German holiday airline Condor by 2015. The next plane will be delivered to Condor in April 2014.
The so-called 'Transfer of Titles' on 13 February formed the official conclusion of the four-day delivery process. The plane was licensed on the very same day and flew to its service location at Berlin Schönefeld. Remaining fitting work will be carried out there and the final official inspection will take place on 20 February. At present, the first flight of D-AIAC is planned for 06 March 2014 for flight DE4716/4635 from Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) to Hurghada (HRG) in Egypt, and from there to Leipzig (LEJ).
The A321, with ID number D-AIAC is the first Condor plane with the latest generation of wing panel extensions, so-called Sharklets. The latest engine technology and improved aerodynamics ensure even lower kerosene consumption and therefore reduced emissions and better noise protection. Compared to the aircraft of its previous Airbus fleet, this means a kerosene saving of more than six percent for the Thomas Cook Group airlines. Condor therefore flies in a more environmentally compatible way.
The new Airbus A321 will also be the first Condor plane to carry the new Sunny Heart on its tail unit. The paintwork is grey, white and sunny yellow. An elegant wave stretches from the tail unit to the Sunny Heart and is designed to symbolise the standardisation of the brands within the Thomas Cook Group. A living example of the cooperation between the airlines is the first of a total of 25 Airbus A321-211 aircraft, which were commissioned in Condor operations in May 2013. The aircraft, which operates under the ID number D-AIAB, will begin flying on 14 February 2014 under the ID number G-TCDB for Condor's sister airline Thomas Cook Airlines UK. Previously, the plane had been refitted in Manchester with the latest Sharklets.
"We are now an integrated team, both internally and with Airbus. Despite this, it is always fascinating and exciting to follow the creation of an aircraft and to prepare it for the fleet," explains Axel Schefe, Manager of Group Fleet Operations at Thomas Cook Group Airlines and therefore project manager of the Entry-Into-Service-Programme A321. "As the Airbus, with production number MSN5969 – the D-AIAC – is the first aircraft with Condor-specific configurations and the new paintwork straight from the plant, it posed a few challenges. The new paintwork was certainly realised technically excellently."
With the A321-211 D-AIAC, Thomas Cook Group plc is the first customer of the plant-installed satellite phone Iridium SatCom from L3 in an aircraft of the A320 family. The satellite phone allows the pilots in the cockpit to contact air-traffic control or engineering, for example, directly. A so-called On Airport Navigation System (OANS) – a navigation device for airports – is also plant-installed in the cockpit.