Andrzej Jeziorski/Munich

Britannia Airways has formed a new German charter subsidiary, which will compete in a market dominated by LTU and Lufthansa-owned Condor.

The new airline, which carries the same name as its London Luton, UK-based parent, will start operating in November, with an initial fleet of two leased Boeing 767-300ERs in long-haul, 328-seat configurations. One aircraft will come from International Lease Finance and one from Boeing, with the first being delivered in November, while the second will be in service by May 1998.

Britannia has invested about DM8 million ($4.6 million) in the new company, which is aiming to achieve profit in its first full year. The airline says that there are mid-term plans to expand the fleet to at least eight aircraft, depending on how quickly business develops.

Specific types and numbers have not been decided, but the airline says that it wants its subsidiary to have the same flexibility and simplicity as Britannia's UK fleet of Boeing 757s and 767s, which allow crew interchangeability.

Britannia says that it has signed a long-term contract with Munich-based tour operator Frosch Touristik International (FTI), and will operate holiday flights for the operator from German airports to the Dominican Republic during 1997/8. The company plans to add Mediterranean destinations in the third quarter of 1998.

Roger Burnell, Britannia's UK managing director, says that the new airline aims to be "the most efficient and cost-conscious" German carrier, and will share livery with its UK parent. The company's staff will be locally employed, and the search is on for a managing director and technical and operations directors, who will be appointed by September.

The company will initially employ 200 staff, adding around 500 more as the fleet expands. It will have bases at Berlin and Munich, but it is still undecided which of these will become the company's headquarters. Lower local tax rates favour Berlin.

Britannia carried 7.5 million passengers in 1996 - LTU and Condor carried about 6 million each. The company flies with load factors averaging more than 90% because of its practice of making no direct sales and leaving the entire load-factor risk with the tour operator. While this is common in the UK, typical German charter carriers sell some tickets directly, and fly with lower load factors.

Source: Flight International