Thomas Cook secures aircraft financing
Thomas Cook Group plc ("Thomas Cook") is pleased to announce further progress with its fleet renewal programme as part of its on-going commitment to building a single, strengthened airline segment aimed at improving the customer experience and reducing CO2 emissions and fuel burn as part of its focus on environmental sustainability.
GECAS has agreed to acquire six A321-200s directly from Airbus, further to a purchase agreement between Thomas Cook and Airbus dated 25 January 2011, and Thomas Cook will lease back those aircraft from GECAS at an average lease rate factor of 0.887 per cent. per month (subject to adjustment for prevailing interest rates at the time of delivery) for 144 months. This implements the letter of intent with GECAS described in the Prospectus issued on 16 May 2013 relating to the recapitalisation of Thomas Cook. The financing of these aircraft is in addition to the recently announced recapitalisation.
It is anticipated that four of the aircraft will be delivered to Thomas Cook in the first quarter of FY 2015, with the remaining two expected to be delivered in the second quarter of FY 2015. As part of the same proposed arrangements, Thomas Cook has agreed to lease an additional three A321-200 aircraft from GECAS for 144 months at market rates, the rental being subject to adjustment at delivery by reference to prevailing interest rates. It is anticipated that the first of these three aircraft will be delivered to Thomas Cook in the first quarter of FY 2015, the second aircraft will be delivered in the second quarter of FY 2015 and the third aircraft will be delivered in the third quarter of FY 2015.
The agreement announced today represents the latest stage of the fleet renewal programme for Thomas Cook's airline segment, which recently announced the bringing together of its four airlines TCX (UK), TC Belgium, Condor (Germany) and TC A/S (Scandinavia) into one segment as part of its on-going efficiency drive; to maximise purchasing power, reduce duplicative cost and improve the customer experience. The Group has now entered into agreements to replace 23 of its existing fleet of 85* over the coming years, with delivery of the first new A321, to be named Voyager Android, being taken later this week at the Airbus facility in Hamburg, increasing the fleet to 86. Upgrading the fleet in this way not only improves passenger comfort but will improve efficiency and reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions as part of our on-going commitment to environmental sustainability. In addition Condor has embarked on a major cabin refurbishment programme to ensure its passengers travel in comfort and enjoy the latest enhancements.
Commenting on the latest changes Christoph Debus, Group Head of Air Travel for Thomas Cook said:
"These commitments, as part of the renewal of our narrow body fleet, represent significant further progress as we continue to invest in the future of our business and work with our key partners to deliver a holiday experience in line with what our customers expect from a market leader such as the Thomas Cook Group".