Andrew Doyle/TORONTO

Augsburg Airways is handing over four German domestic routes to Eurowings but will launch new services to Geneva and Basle as part of efforts to boost the profitability of its Team Lufthansa franchise operations.


The German regional has meanwhile taken delivery of its first two Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s about seven months late, and will put the 72-seat turboprops into service with its fleet of 14 Dash 8s early next month.

The network changes are being introduced as a result of Lufthansa's recent acquisition of a 24.9% stake in Eurowings and will see Augsburg Airways drop flights from Munich and Frankfurt to Dortmund and Paderborn. "It makes sense because Dortmund and Paderborn are Eurowings' home market and so they should serve it," says Augsburg president Olaf Dlugi.

Current plans call for Augsburg to begin serving Geneva and Basle from Munich from the start of the summer timetable, and launch a new service from Friedrichshafen to Frankfurt. The airline has an additional three Q400s on firm order, plus two options which Dlugi says he expects will be firmed up later this year. It is also dusting off plans to acquire 40-seat regional jets to launch longer-range regional routes following an improvement in its financial performance.

Dlugi says, however, that the acquisition of jets will need capital which could be raised by selling a minority stake in the airline to an outside investor or by launching an initial public offering. A decision on how to proceed is expected "during the first half of this year". Augsburg Airways is owned by the privately held German paper company, Haindl.

Bombardier Aerospace Regional Aircraft division president Steve Ridolfi says the Q400 programme is "back on track" with 21 aircraft now delivered. Deliveries to launch customer SAS Commuter were over a year late after certification delays, requiring the manufacturer to make post-assembly modifications.

"We have caught up a great deal, though we are still behind theoriginal schedule," says Ridolfi. He sees turboprop demand "continuing at well over 100 aircraft per year for the time being" despite the rapid expanding market for regional jet aircraft.

Source: Flight International