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German Leisure Airlines in Trouble

The past week has seen two German leisure carriers getting in serious operational and financial trouble. AZUR air Germany has not used its only aircraft, a 737-900, in the last 10 days and has instead relied on wet-leases from other carriers while Small Planet Airlines GmbH, the German division of Small Planet Airlines, has filed for insolvency.

AZUR air Germany

The airline's first 737-900 at Düsseldorf. – By Marvin Mutz on Flickr

AZUR air Germany was founded only a year ago and originally operated two 767-300 and added a third of the type shortly after but during this summer, two of these aircraft have been transferred to a sister company in Ukraine and a first 737-900 was introduced into the fleet. Shortly after, the third 767 was seen operating flights for AZUR air Ukraine and the 737 was the only aircraft in its fleet. It seems like this has come to an end as well, as the aircraft has also been spotted flying fo AZUR air Ukraine, leaving AZUR air Germany without a single aircraft.

Staff said that they haven't been informed about any of this and are eagerly awaiting more information from management about the situation of the carrier, which so far has not made any statements regarding the future of AZUR air Germany. The only information coming from management was this: "Due to an aircraft shortage, some of our flights will be operated by wet-lease carriers."

Small Planet Airlines GmbH

An A320 of Small Panet Germany. – By Alec Wilson on Flickr.

Founded in 2015, the German division of the Lithuanian airline Small Planet Airlines has operated in niche markets and as leisure carrier with all seats being sold by several tour operators. After the collapse of Air Berlin in October 2017, the airline rapidly expanded its fleet and network to get a piece of the Air Berlin leftovers. However, during summer 2018, the airline heavily struggled with major delays and inoperative aircraft, leaving over 6% of its flights delayed over three hours, making it possible for passengers to claim a compenstion of up to 600€, some flights even were delayed by up to 70 hours.

These compenstion claims have now led the carrier to file for insolvency with a court in Berlin under own administration (comparable to Chapter 11 in the US) and has decided in cooperation with the "Luftfahrt-Bundesamt" (the German FAA) to continue all operations and flights according to schedule. The goal of this move is to pay for all filed claims against the airline and return to operational stability.