Lufthansa calls off partnership with Augsburg Airways

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Lufthansa will terminate its cooperation with regional partner Augsburg Airways at the end of next year's summer schedule on 26 October 2013.

Augsburg Airways started serving regional routes for Lufthansa in 1996 and today operates mostly on the latter's behalf. The Munich-based carrier offers charter capacity, but all regular flights are conducted for Lufthansa.

The airline says in statement that while it has been clear for some time that Lufthansa planned changes to its regional network, the timing of the contract termination was nevertheless "surprising".

A spokesperson declined to comment any further, insisting the airline does not want to "participate in speculation" for the benefit of its employees.

According to its website, Augsburg Airways has approximately 450 employees, comprising about 150 flight crew, 180 cabin crew, 90 technical staff members and 30 administrative staff members. It conducts line and base maintenance for Bombardier Dash 8 series aircraft at its hangar in Munich, and line maintenance for Embraer 190 series regional jets.

The fleet comprises nine Dash 8 Q400s, five E-195s and one E-190 aircraft. All of the E-195s are owned by Lufthansa and sub-leased to Augsburg Airways.

The carrier is wholly owned by holding company Aton GmbH, which was founded by Lutz Helmig and remains under his family's control.

Lufthansa had earlier terminated its partnership with Stuttgart-based regional carrier Contact Air. The decision was revealed a year ago, when Lufthansa said it would exclude Fokker 100s - operated by Contact Air - from its schedule, before transfering affected flights over to low-cost subsidiary Germanwings.

Separately, Lufthansa has also decided to move its entire European network - excluding flights to and from its long-haul hubs Frankfurt and Munich - over to Germanwings, effective 1 January 2013.

Following its divorce from Lufthansa, Contact Air was taken over by Bremen-based Fokker 100 operator OLT Express.