Cirrus axes Erfurt-Munich flights as govt help dries up

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German regional carrier Cirrus Airlines plans to discontinue its flights between Erfurt and Munich as public funding for the route is to stop next year.

Thuringia's regional government has decided to stop supporting the route with €2 million ($2.7 million) a year, after the current contract expires in March.

The support scheme was designed as start-up help for routes from the east German hub and was not meant to run indefinitely, said a spokesman for Thuringia's finance ministry.

The Saarbrücken-based airline claims that the funding was available for 20 years - although it has not operated the route for the entire time - and that it would not be able to continue the flights economically without government help.

The route is to be closed for the summer 2012 schedule, which begins at the end of March.

The finance ministry said that talks with Erfurt Airport are planned for the "next few weeks", indicating that potential funding is still under discussion. Cirrus Airlines said it would continue the route if the support can still be provided.

The carrier operates up to three return flights a day from Erfurt to Munich throughout the week, except on Saturdays, using Dornier 328 turboprops.

It does not serve any other destinations from Erfurt.