Thomas Cook has launched a new airline in Majorca and plans to start its first flights early next year as it looks to combat turbulence in the European short-haul aviation sector.
The travel firm, which operates airlines in Germany, the UK and Scandinavia, said the new carrier will supplement its existing operations, starting with at least three Airbus A320 aircraft that previously operated for its Belgium airline.
At first, these aircraft will take over short and medium-haul flights for Thomas Cook's German airline Condor to replace third party aircraft leases.
The new airline, called Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics, will be based at the firm's most popular destination, so it can provide flights from there to support its other airlines depending on seasonal demand.
Thomas Cook said the Majorca base will give it "greater operational flexibility" at a competitive cost.
Christoph Debus, chief airline officer at Thomas Cook Group, said:
The new airline and base will provide us with the right platform to better manage the seasonal demand in our business, giving us more control at lower cost as we continue to expand the choice of destinations we offer our customers.
With more than one million Thomas Cook customers flying into Palma every year, we have a strong existing infrastructure on which to build.
Earlier today, regional airline Flybe issued a profit warning off the back of a rise in aircraft maintenance costs, sending shares falling more than 15 per cent.