Swiss regional carrier SkyWork Airlines has secured its continued operation through partnership with German business aircraft operator and Fairchild Dornier 328 wet-lease specialist MHS Aviation.
SkyWork and Munich-based MHS are taking identical reciprocal shareholdings to create a “balanced and equal partnership”, says the airline.
Chief executive Tomislav Lang – who co-founded SkyWork as a flight training organisation in 1983 – has stepped down from his post and given up his shareholding in the business. However, the airline says that Lang “was the initiator of the partnership and has paved the way for it with the provision of his shares”.
He has been replaced by chief operating officer Rolf Hartleb. Other SkyWork executives have remained in place, while a successor for Hartleb’s former post has yet to be appointed.
Cutting costs has been the main driver for the move. The airline says there is “significant” scope for savings, particularly in maintenance and administrative tasks, such as flight planning and crew rostering, which can be taken over by MHS. But it adds that “nothing will change” for passengers.
Aircraft and crew are to remain stationed in Berne and continue the current flight schedule. However, the airline admits that the partnership with MHS was necessary to “safeguard the long-term future” of the Berne operation.
SkyWork has five 328 turboprops and three Bombardier Q400s, while MHS operates four 328s as well as a number of business jets and helicopters, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows.
Additional partners have been recruited to “develop the Berne location”, says SkyWork.
Partnering with Austrian regional carrier InterSky has been considered. Talks between the two operators have been going for “a long time” as “there would certainly be scope for a lot of synergies”, Hans Rudolf Wöhrl – founder of Nuremberg-based airline turnaround specialist Into Aviation, InterSky’s largest shareholder – told Flightglobal Pro in September. But he adds that “as often [with such ideas], the devil is in the detail”.