Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH Augsburg Airways
began its franchise partnership with Lufthansa
in the third quarter of 1996. Since then the German regional carrier has expanded its Bombardier de Havilland
Dash 8-100 and -300 ßeet from Ìve to eight aircraft, and dedicated 50% of its business to this co-operation.
According to Augsburg
managing director Olaf Dlugi, the regional carrier had been looking for a cost-effective way to expand beyond the limited Augsburg market, and begin to turn a proÌt. "To develop a new market by ourselves would have been very, very costly," says Dlugi.
The airline had set its sights on the growing Munich hub, and approached Lufthansa about a possible partnership at a time when the larger carrier was itself toying with the idea of creating a regional alliance, through franchising.
The increased business has allowed Augsburg to expand, reducing its Ìxed costs and break-even load factors. According to Dlugi, the airline's break-even load factor has dropped from about 54% to 51% and operations should move into proÌt by the end of this year.
Four of Augsburg's Dash 8s
now ßy in "Team Lufthansa" colours on six routes out of Munich, as well as from nearby Augsburg to Frankfurt
, and from Cologne to Erfurt
. Dlugi says that this co-operation will expand further, while the ßeet could be expanded by up to three aircraft a year to an eventual optimum of 12 aircraft. Two new Dash 8s have already been added in 1997, and more could be added later this year.