The German aviation scene has claimed another airline: late night on February 4 Germania filed for insolvency and stopped operations after the arrival of her last service to Neurenberg on the 5th. Germania has been unable to secure a financial package that had been negotiated mid-January.
Berlin Tegel-based Germania, which origins date back to 1979 as Special Air Transport (SAT) and became Germania Fluggesellschaft in 1986, operated scheduled route, charter services, and package tours. After current CEO Karsten Balke took over in 2014, the airline saw rapid growth, which includes the formation of Swiss-based Germania Flug and Bulgarian subsidiary Bulgarian Eagle.
In a February 5 press release the airline blames its demise on three major events: fuel prices increased dramatically in 2018, weakening of the euro against the US dollar and fleet issues. Phasing-in of new Airbus A320neo’s was delayed, while an unusually high number of maintenance events of its existing Airbus A319, A321 and Boeing 737-700 fleet resulted in extra costs. Together, Germania was urgently in need of short-term liquidity of at least 15mln euro.
On January 19 Germania announced it had secured funds that exceeded the 15mln needed, expecting them to become in the final week of January. With renewed confidence Balke looked ahead to 2019, saying: “Both the medium- and long-term viability of Germania Fluggesellschaft as an independent medium-sized airline has been secured. The booking situation is good, advance booking figures for the coming months and for the entire 2019 summer schedule are above those of the previous year.”
The outlook changed when funds didn’t become available, which left the board with no other option than to file for insolvency (Chapter 11) with a court in Berlin Charlottenburg for Germania Fluggesellschaft, Germania Technik Brandenburg GmbH as well as Germania Flugdienste GmbH.
“Unfortunately, we were ultimately unable to bring our financing efforts to cover a short-term liquidity need to a positive conclusion. We very much regret that consequently, our only option was to file for insolvency. It is, of course, the impact that this step will have on our employees that we regret the most.” A curator has been appointed.
Germania flew four million passengers a year on short-haul routes from 18 airports to 60 destinations in Europe, North-Africa and the Middle East. The airline also operated many flights on behalf of Airbus to transfer staff between Hamburg and Toulouse. Germania Fluggesellschaft operated 37 aircraft: 21 Airbus A319s, 7 A321s, and 9 Boeing 737-700s. Swiss-based Germania Flug continues to operate with its 2 A319s and 1 A321 and Bulgarian Eagle 2 A319s. At the 2016 Farnborough Air Show, Germania ordered 25 A320neos with P&W GTFs for growth and replacement.
Germania’s almost certain demise follows a few months after Latvian airline but Germany-based Small Planet ceased operations, while late 2017 airBerlin went bankrupt after its main shareholder Etihad bailed out.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.