A majority stake in German charter carrier Aero Lloyd is to go to the Bayerische Landesbank (BLB), the Bavarian bank originally called in to find new investors for the airline.

BLB is negotiating to take 51% of the company, adding that investment in Germany's sizeable tourist market is a strategic goal. A linked deal is also being worked out with unions, which will allow employees to take shares in the company in exchange for a 10% salary cut, saving DM10 million ($5.8 million).

Aero Lloyd confirms that BLB has been providing it with cover of DM50-60 million each year to see the airline through the low winter season. This has been more than offset by profits at peak times, but the expansion of the airline in the 1990s has put pressure on finances.

BLB now plans to contribute DM17 million to raise the airline's capital to DM68 million. Ownership is now divided between insurance broker Jan Klimitz and the privately owned Air Charter Market company.

The German airline says that it is planning close co-operation with the Schreiner Aviation Group, the Dutch aircraft charter operator. The Dutch company, which is in the process of acquiring medium-haul charter airline Air Holland, will provide funds and may eventually take a stake in Aero Lloyd.

Meanwhile, Aero Lloyd is upgrading its fleet, with the aim of becoming an all-Airbus operator by 2002. By the end of 1998, the fleet will consist of six A320s, the first two of ten ordered A321s and 11 Boeing MD-80s.

Source: Flight International