Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics (H5, Palma Son Sant Joan) has been granted an air operator's certificate (AOC) by the Spanish civil aviation authority (Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea - AESA) ahead of its commercial debut on Saturday, March 24.

"The new AOC for Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics is an important step for our whole Group Airline," Christoph Debus, Thomas Cook Group's Chief Airline Officer said. "In the highly competitive short and medium-haul market we will gain an advantage with greater operational flexibility at a competitive cost. In the same way, we can improve our customer experience by maintaining a close watch over the quality and product on board."

Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics will also allow Thomas Cook Group Airlines flexibility in its growth plans, giving it a new base in its most popular destination - Palma Son Sant Joan - from which it can provide flights to support its other airlines, according to seasonal demand.

The new airline will commence operations with five A320 Family aircraft during summer 2018. These aircraft will initially take over short and medium-haul flights for Thomas Cook's German airline Condor (DE, Frankfurt Int'l) to replace third-party aircraft leases.

Earlier this month, Thomas Cook Aviation (TCN, Frankfurt Int'l) was granted a German AOC thereby allowing the group to faster fill the capacity void left by the collapse of Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel). Condor's chief executive Ralf Teckentrup has told ch-aviation during the ITB trade fair that the acquisition of Air Berlin Aviation (H3, Frankfurt Int'l) allowed the carrier to get former Air Berlin crews and aircraft operational much quicker than it would otherwise have been possible.