Airline group OLT Express appears to have suspended all its Polish operations, although the company's German subsidiary is continuing to fly.
Last week, OLT Express Poland ceased all regional flights with its ATR 42/72 fleet as well as scheduled services with Airbus A320-family aircraft, after a long-standing disagreement between its parent, Gdansk-based investment house Amber Gold, and Poland's Financial Supervision Authority, KNF, escalated. KNF warned that Amber Gold was operating without a banking licence, although the investment firm argues that it did not need such a permit for its business, a spokesman for OLT Express Germany tells Flightglobal.
The Warsaw-based airline continued to run charter flights after its regional division, OLT Regional Express, filed for bankruptcy on 27 July. As of today, however, OLT Express Poland has also suspended international charter flights, the company says on its website.
OLT Express Poland could not immediately be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, for OLT Express Germany, it is business as usual, with the carrier continuing its regular operations and proceeding with its expansion plans. The Bremen-based airline, which is wholly-owned by Amber Gold, is currently taking over Contact Air, a regional airline in Stuttgart which has thus far operated almost exclusively as a partner carrier for Lufthansa.
Contact Air's co-operation agreement with Lufthansa expires at the end of October, however, with the latter's low-cost subsidiary, Germanwings, taking over the respective routes from Stuttgart.
OLT Express Germany says that it has not been affected by the troubles at its Polish parent or its sister airline. Although Amber Gold wants to withdraw from all aviation activities "as soon as possible", the German carrier believes it would have "no problem" operating as a stand-alone business. Amber Gold has invested in the carrier, notably ensuring that it owns rather than leases its fleet.
A spokesman declined to specify for how long the company could exist without an investor. But he says its management is considering selling some of its aircraft to provide short-term finance. An investor would be necessary to stabilise the operations in the long term, he concedes.
Discussions with potential investors are ongoing and are progressing well, he says.
The aircraft offered for sale will be taken from OLT Express Germany's original fleet in Bremen - not that of Contact Air - which comprises two Fokker 100s, four Saab 2000s and one Saab 340. Contact Air, meanwhile, operates seven Fokker 100s.
It is the second time in 12 months that OLT Express Germany - previously called Ostfriesische Lufttransport - has experienced ownership issues. It was acquired by Amber Gold in August 2011 after its former parent, Emden-based shipping company AG Ems Group, had made plain its intention to exit the aviation sector.
Last year Amber Gold also bought Warsaw-based ATR 42/72 operator Jet Air as well as A320 operator Yes Airways, which became OLT Regional Express and OLT Express Poland respectively.