OLT Express Germany ceases operations

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Bremen-based regional carrier OLT Express Germany has ceased operations after its owner, Panta Holdings, rejected the company's restructuring plans.

The airline proposed in December to halve its 10-strong Fokker 100 fleet and likely shed jobs among its 500 employees. That followed its ambitious expansion plans throughout 2012, which included taking over moribund German regional carrier Contact Air.

OLT Express says that Netherlands-based Panta Holdings - owned by Dutch aviation entrepreneur Jaap Rosen Jacobson - rejected the restructuring plan that had been agreed on by the airline's management and staff over the preceding days.

The proposal had included "extensive" use of part-time work and "significant salary sacrifices across all employee groups".

The scheme was supported by creditors and depended only on the owner's approval, says OLT Express. But without support for the turnaround plan, the airline admits that it will be unable to continue commercial operations.

The carrier ceased flight operations on 27 January.

Panta Holdings acquired OLT Express Germany in August 2012 after previous owner Amber Gold, a Polish investment house, closed down its Warsaw-based airline OLT Express Poland and withdrew from all aviation activities.

Panta Holdings made the acquisition after OLT Express Germany took over the former Lufthansa regional partner Contact Air.

The Stuttgart-based carrier had lost its agreement with Lufthansa in 2012, having previously cooperated on a near-exclusive basis. A second partnership contract with Lufthansa-subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines - covering two Fokker 100s - was due to expire at the end of March 2013.

Contact Air's acquisition added eight Fokker 100s and around 200 full-time positions to OLT operations which, at the time, comprised two Fokker 100s, four Saab 2000s and one Saab 340.